Gretchen Lee Salter, the Breast Cancer Fund's senior policy manager, reacts to this week's big BPA news.
There were two big strikes against BPA this week. Yesterday California added BPA to the state's Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.
On Monday, the French government warned pregnant women to stay away from BPA. In their warning, French authorities point to the numerous studies linking prenatal exposure to BPA with increased risk for later breast cancer. This warning comes on the heels of a new French law that will ban BPA from all food packaging, including food cans by 2015.
The Prop 65 listing and French government's warning are powerful indictments of this toxic chemical that the industry has argued is safe, despite waves of peer-reviewed scientific studies finding that BPA harms reproduction, and is linked to infertility and breast cancer.
While I'm heartened by these steps, we need our governments and industry to take even more decisive action to protect the public health. We’ve known for years about the dangers of BPA, especially to pregnant women, who should not have to worry whether or not their canned food is toxic. When I was pregnant three years ago, I did everything I could to stay away from BPA in canned food. But I was lucky. I had access to fresh fruits and vegetables and alternatives to canned soups and meals.
The Breast Cancer Fund's Cans Not Cancer campaign is working to make sure everyone is protected from BPA. We're pressuring canned food manufacturers to stop using BPA and to ensure the safety of any alternative chemical used in its place. We're also working with states around the country and with members of Congress to pass legislation to require the labeling of canned food containing BPA.
So while we applaud California and France, we all need to call on governments and industry to get this toxic chemical out of our products.