In a move that runs contrary to the weight of scientific evidence and yields to the whims of a small number of media-savvy activists, Campbell Soup Company has announced that they will be phasing out the use of BPA (bisphenol-A) in the lining of their cans.
BPA is a commonly used chemical that is present in a wide variety of food packaging and other products. As ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan notes, BPA protects food quality: When used in can linings, it prevents metals from leaching into can contents, and reduces the risk of bacterial contamination, including botulism. The FDA has long maintained that the use of BPA in such products is safe; they have stated that the levels consumers might be exposed to do not pose any health risks. However, in response to increased public fears, the agency s updated assessment of the chemical is expected in the near future.
Yet activists continue to insist that the use of BPA is dangerous to our health, and several states, including California, are considering legislation to ban the use of BPA in products for children. France has already banned the substance in food packaging, based on consumer concern rather than science. Now, Campbell s has joined the ranks of those influenced by activist hype.
Without any supporting scientific evidence, a major company is acquiescing to the well-orchestrated cacophony of a small number of extremists, says Dr. Whelan. And it s the rest of us who will suffer. Manufacturers will have to find some alternative chemical to replace BPA, and then five or 10 years down the line, these same people will start protesting the new chemical. And it will begin all over again.
ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom adds, I m quite sure these groups have another harmless ingredient in the queue that will suddenly become more dangerous than anthrax once it gets to the press. Gotta keep em scared, or you re not doing your job.