(NaturalNews) Consumers are becoming increasingly wary of the risks of the chemical known as bisphenol A (BPA), and are demanding that companies develop alternative products that do not contain the toxin.
BPA is a chemical used to make plastics hard and transparent, such as in polycarbonate water or baby bottles, and is also used to make the resins that line food cans. More than 100 studies have linked BPA to disruptions of the endocrine system, causing damage to the behavioral and neural development of infants and children and to the reproductive systems of children and adults. More recent studies have also implicated the chemical in an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Growing consumer alarm over the chemical has led to the creation of a new market in "BPA-free" baby bottles, and major retailers including Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us have pledged to phase out all baby bottles that contain the chemical. Canada has banned all baby bottles made with BPA, and water bottle manufacturer Nalgene has committed to reformulate its products to exclude the chemical.
Less action has been taken to address the threat of BPA leaching into food from the lining of cans or other packaging. This has led FoodProductionDaily.com editor Jane Byrne to call on food and drink manufacturers, "to develop, in tandem with the chemical companies, an alternative to BPA for can linings or, at the very least, reduce dramatically the amount of the resin used in the packaging."
Byrne notes that in Japan, consumer demand led manufacturers to voluntarily reduce their BPA use to such an extent that recent tests indicate a near absence of chemical in canned food and beverage products today.
One U.S. food manufacturer, Eden, does use a plant-based, non-BPA resin inside its cans of peas. Because the alternative resin is slightly more expensive, the price of the canned food is also slightly higher.