Bisphenol A, better known as BPA, is in the news again. The endocrine disrupting chemical that has been linked in study after study to infertility, early onset puberty, destruction of sperm, genetic defects, breast cancer and a host of other ills has found a supporter in none other than Coca-Cola.
Soda can liners are loaded with BPA and consumers are increasingly worried about it. In fact, 26% of Coca-Cola’s shareholders recently approved a resolution to remove BPA from the company’s soda cans. Typically, resolutions with as little as 10% support receive quick action from most companies.
So, what’s with all the foot dragging?
Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola, claimed that the “science just isn’t there” to justify a shift away from BPA and claimed that if the company “had any doubt” about the safety of its packaging that BPA would no longer be used.
What planet is this guy living on? Certainly not the one I’m on where 1 in 7 Caucasian girls and 1 in 2 African American girls are developing breasts by age 8! The problems don’t end there but continue for decades as girls with early onset puberty have a higher risk of breast cancer later in life.
And it’s not just high exposure that causes problems. Even very low levels of BPA have been found to destroy sperm as shown in a five year trial on the effects of BPA on the human male. Chinese workers with low exposure to BPA suffered from a 400% increased risk of low sperm count and twice the likelihood for reduced sperm motility.
There are numerous objective studies which point to the endocrine disrupting dangers of BPA, but Coca-Cola seems to put most credence in the single study that found BPA to be safe.
Not surprisingly, this study was conducted by researchers with strong ties to the chemical industry.
Is BPA Another “New Coke” Miscalculation?
Could it be that Coke is afraid to admit there is a problem with the packaging of its cans as this could open them up to a slew of lawsuits from folks who have hormone problems and drink a lot of Coke?
If so, this strategy is sure to backfire as other companies are recognizing the risks and taking steps to ensure their packaging is BPA free. Even Heinz and General Mills are launching BPA free product lines.
Remember years ago when Coca-Cola launched New Coke? The negative outcry from consumers caused the company to scramble and within months, Coke Classic was reintroduced – the original flavor formulation. This huge business error cost the company millions in lost revenue and was arguably the worst business decision ever made by the soda manufacturer.
Refusing to remove BPA from its cans and sticking its corporate head in the sand could eventually prove just as devastating as consumers come to realize that saving face and making money with cheap, toxic packaging is more important to Coca-Cola than the well being and desires of consumers – even its own shareholders.
Source: Why Coca-Cola Isn’t Ditching BPA
A Survey of BPA in US Canned Foods
New Plastic Chemical Study Linked to Industry
the very occasional soft drink is organic by Phoenix or Wort organic they both make a ginger beer. But really we only drink filtered water, fresh vege juices, superfood nut ‘mylk’ shakes or a herbal tea. Prefer to get sugar from natural options, then there is no high or lows. My fav & naughty treat – a passion fruit pistachio nut ‘cheese’ tart! Yum! (and there is no sugar, dairy, or gluten in sight!)
I have to disagree with the people who say they care about their health but drink an occasional coke. Yes we should live by the 80 20 rule. I have a treat and a treat is still something like an organic chocolate, an organic soft drink (when we do our 12 hour drive), but coke, that is carcenogenic, how on earth can this ever be a treat? This drink is a death sentence, just a very slow one! @”D” “DH” above wrote they bought ‘stuff’ for the fundrasier – what is wrong with giving them money but not taking anything for it, I have done this many a time.
@ Lacey your sis? Sil? Giving up coke when pregnant is great, but what about preconception care! Whatever you have 3 months for woman and 4 months for men will effect the quality of the embryo ie: your baby!
@Bonny We store all our things in good old fashioned glass, we even drink our water out of glass. Plastic wrap is not an option, or those so called ‘Chinese’ containers. We don’t microwave either. Wrap sandwiches in paper wrap then in a paper bag like the good old days. then if you must store it in a lunch box the plastic is not directly touching the sandwich. There are stainless bottles you can buy that are suppose to be safe (I bought one but didn’t like it much, but as long as you teach your children not to loose it (they are pretty expensive) then this would be a good option. We do you the green vege bags which are a type of plastic, but they were recognised as safe from an organic society (this keeps them fresh for longer). Otherwise, avoid plastics as much as possible, process foods, preservatives, additives, pesticides etc. Fresh is best! Fresh organic the best of the best!
Better for the planet, better for you!
FYI, I’m very familiar with how paper is made and hate to break it to you, it’s not as chemical/toxin free as we all would think or hope. Just because it’s made from trees doesn’t make it wholesome and organic . . . there is plenty of processing, bleaching, manipulating and plenty of additives. Paper mills are notorious for being one of the worst polluters especially of our rivers since they need water to produce the paper and are usually situated near a water source. So I’m not quite sure wrapping sandwiches in paper is any better than the plastic to be frank.
Noelle Julian via Facebook
How can anyone be surprised at the antics of this company? It’s Coke – they bring us aspartme, water pollution in developing countries and type 2 diabetes…now more BPA.
Can anyone direct me to some good resources for determining what does or does not contain BPA? I’ve just started becoming aware of all this, and I feel like plastic is so inescapable. I know some products are labeled “BPA free”, but beyond that, how do you know what’s dangerous and what isn’t?
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Hi Bonny, avoiding processed foods is the biggest way to avoid BPA as the packaging for cans etc is a very large exposure source. Even baby formula cans are loaded. Plastic at home is not so bad IF you never microwave in it or put these containers in the dishwasher. Always wash in mild soap by hand.
Thanks for the answer, Sarah! So, plastic lunch bags for the kids’ school lunches, plastic water bottles…safe?
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Anything you reuse I would limit .. for example, get stainless steel water bottles and don’t use plastic unless they are one use (it’s good to limit that anyway for limitation of trash).
Plastic lunch bags are ok I think as long as nothing is hot in them or they are reused. I prefer BPA free plastic reusable containers myself as the schools frown on glass containers.
Just another reason to be glad I gave up cokes (soda for those outside the south 🙂 )
Jo at Jo's Health Corner
It is amazing what companies can get away with. We don’t drink soda but I realize that there are people who care about BPA even though they drink soda. There are quite a few soda drinkers that care about their health, perhaps not to the level that I do, but more and more people are becoming aware of the dangers of endocrine disruptors. It might not affect coke that much, but if we all share information about BPA more people will be exposed to the truth and hopefully we can influence coke.
thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook
I do think Coke customers care about their health. My niece drinks Coke and is very health conscious other than this bad habit. I think Coca-Cola is wayyyy underestimating the damaging effects of this decision.
I couldn’t agree more with everyone’s posts. My SIL just found out she’s pregnant and dropped her diet Coke habit in a heartbeat. I was really proud of her, even tho the withdrawls were not fun.
You are what you eat!
Honestly, I don’t think this will affect Coke that much in the long run. I don’t think people that consume Coke regularly care, or maybe even know about the harmful effects of BPA. I mean, these are the same people that willingly consume high fructose corn syrup and aspertame, and think that DIET coke is part of a healthy diet. Maybe that’s why Coke is able to turn a blind eye to the research on BPA, because a large customer base is ignorant as well.