(NaturalNews) Major food companies are starting to announce plans to remove the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from their packaging in response to growing consumer concern and the looming specter of new government regulations.
Ninety percent of the U.S. residents test positive for BPA, a chemical increasingly linked to cancer, heart disease, infertility, impotence and even mental retardation. The chemical is found in everything from cell phone casings to sporting goods and grocery store receipts, but its most notorious use has been in baby bottles, water bottles and food packaging.
"Plasticizers such as bisphenol a, or BPA, a plastics building block used in everything from safety helmets, dental sealants, and eyeglass lenses to everyday food packaging, are what are also known as endocrine disruptors, a group of environmental contaminants that can affect our immune system and our resistance to disease in another particularly insidious way -- and in particularly small doses -- by disrupting our bodies' natural hormonal signals," writes Donna Jackson Nakazawa in her book The Autoimmune Epidemic.
In a recent survey, the investment fund Green Century Capital Management asked 26 major food companies for their policies on the chemical. Roughly 50 percent said they plan to phase it out, compared with 23 percent just one year ago. Among the companies committed to ending use of BPA are Nestle, Heinz, General Mills and Campbell Soups.
Because developing alternatives takes time, BPA-free products will not necessarily flood supermarket shelves anytime soon. Yet companies appear to be racing against a growing anti-BPA mood among government regulators, a concern reflected in warnings issued by Del Monte and Hain Celestial to their investors that new regulations could become a serious risk in the near future.
Canada has already listed BPA as a toxic chemical, and that country along with several US states have banned its use in baby products. Although the European Food Safety Agency has declared it safe, a number of individual European states have rejected that position.