Friday, January 22, 2010

Bis-Phenol A Update

Here is an update on last August's post on bis-phenol A: there are two pieces of news on BPA, the chemical used in almost all food packaging and many reusable food containers, first the FDA has reversed course and is now opening a new study on BPA and its potentials harms.

Second, homestate Wisconsin is preparing a Canada-style ban on BPA in reusable food containers like baby-bottles and water-bottles. They would be the third state to enact a ban. While Wisconsin is a small state, industry can't develop special products for each state, and these bans have outsized influence.

In my view there are two things going on, first is Bisphenol A has a documented physiological effect on people and animals. Significantly, the effect is on sexual development -- so it gets more press than otherwise. Second, polycarbonate is not quite as stable as people thought it was.

Bis-phenol A is used in epoxy liners for food cans and beverage cans. These appear to be more stable, and there is much less clamor to change.

If there is a third thing, it is the change in political administration. The FDA review of BPA represents a reversal of the Bush Administration's decision in 2008. I can't find any objective journalism on the politics involved, but it is likely that politics is involved in one administration or the other.

In the meantime, do I like I do, and don't put polycarbonate bottles in the dishwasher or the microwave. The heat degrades them slowly back to bisphenol A, which leaches into the contents.

The more I think about food packaging, the more I like glass.