This past Friday, Health Canadaannouncedthat it will continue to allow Bisphenol A (BPA) to be used in food packaging. This follows three years of research including studies that measured BPA concentrations in foods packaged in cans and plastic bottles.
They also looked at the most recentTotal Diet Studyconducted by the Bureau of Chemical Safety. This is a study where they look for potentially toxic chemicals in foods they consider to be a part of a typical Canadian diet.
As a result of these various studies, Health Canada concluded that the typical level of exposure to BPA did not pose a health risk; therefore no new regulations were required.
Some Context for You
In 2010, the Canadian government declared BPA to be toxic and led the global charge in removing BPA from baby bottles. Their research at the time showed the chemical to be potentially harmful to human health and the environment. As a result, many people sat up and took notice of this very common chemical. The demand for BPA-free products went well beyond baby bottles and sippy cups. Smart manufacturers likeNalgenecomplied,which led to the stocking of the marketplace with BPA-free products.
The ban was a bold move as it required any manufacturer wishing to sell product in Canada to comply. Shortly after, the American FDA followed suit.
Since then, there have been multiple studies which have linked BPA to cancer, infertility, diabetes, childhood obesity, behavioural and emotional problems in young girls, feminization of young boys and early onset puberty in girls. Several of these findings were the result of in utero exposure.
The grey area remains; what is the safe level of BPA consumption?
After yesterdays announcement that BPA is okay for food manufacturers to use, we have a choice to make. We can:
1.Accept the governments recommendation and hope we have a typical diet that exposes us to a safe amount of BPA and carry on as we were.
2. Take our health into our own hands and limit exposure by reducing the amount of canned and bottled food products we consume.
3.Or, take a stand and demand that the marketplace change even if the government doesnt require it. The only more powerful force in a marketplace aside from government regulation is consumer demand. This means not just changing personal consumption habits but informing manufacturers why its happening.
Choose the latter and we may just be able to have our cake and eat it (BPA-free) too.
Food for Your Thought
Do you feel safer about your BPA exposure after this Health Canada report? Will this change how you shop or store foods?