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