(NaturalNews) Oil and grain conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland has announced that the chemical isosorbide could function as a replacement for the embattled petroleum derivative bisphenol A (BPA). The company says it is the first to offer "renewable" (corn-based) isosorbide on such a large scale.
BPA is a ubiquitous chemical used in everything from eyeglasses to sports equipment to CDs. It mimics the effects of the hormone estrogen in the body, producing hormonal changes that have been linked to cancer, heart disease and even brain defects.
"BPA ... may impair the reproductive organs and have adverse effects on tumors, breast tissue development, and prostate development by reducing sperm count," writes C. W. Randolph in his book From Belly Fat to Belly FLAT.
Researchers believe that most people's BPA exposure comes from food, due to its use in clear, hard plastic water and baby bottles, and as an ingredient in the epoxy resins that line food and beverage cans. Canada and a number of U.S. states have already banned BPA's use in baby bottles, and the overall safety of the chemical is being evaluated by numerous governments.
According to an Archer Daniels press release, isosorbide "can be used in polyesters for inks, toners, powder coatings, packaging and durable goods; polyurethanes for foams and coatings; polycarbonates for durable goods and optical media; epoxy resins for paints; and detergents, surfactants and additives for personal care and consumer products."
The company's press release did not address whether any safety tests have been carried out on isosorbide. Under U.S. law, companies are not required to do any safety tests on new chemicals before introducing them onto the market.
Writing on FastCompany.com, Ariel Schwartz raises another concern about the idea that isosorbide can so easily replace BPA.
"The problem is that isosorbide is corn-based, and as anyone familiar with the world of biofuels knows, corn isn't the most sustainable choice for industrial applications," Schwartz writes. "Besides the massive amounts of resources required for grain production, there's the larger problem of taking up arable land to produce industrial ingredients."