A Statement from the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, Inc. (NAMPA) In Response to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Article: “BPA Industry Seeks to Polish Image”

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ASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Recent media reports, including those of this newspaper, have repeatedly raised concerns about bisphenol A (BPA), but have failed to accurately portray the scientific review process and conclusions of public health authorities around the world who have reaffirmed time and time again that this chemical does not present a health risk. The use of BPA-based epoxy liners in metal food and beverage cans serves a critical function by preventing a myriad of contaminants from penetrating into the food, affording longer shelf life and significant nutrition, convenience and economy. Unfortunately, the one-sided reporting so commonplace in the media has left consumers to conclude that rather than preventing health impacts, the epoxy liner itself causes problems because it contains infinitesimal amounts of BPA.



The science supporting the safe use of epoxy liners in food contact applications is both extensive and extensively analyzed. Yet, instead of informing consumers that international agencies around the world have conducted reviews of the comprehensive scientific evidence on BPA, including negative reports, and consistently concluded there is no health risk, the media selectively report only the negative findings. Instead of informing people that BPA’s use in metal packaging is critical to protecting food contents from microbiological contamination by enabling high temperature sterilization, the implication is that BPA serves no useful purpose. Instead of reporting on industry efforts to educate people about the facts on BPA, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has consistently chosen to report only one side of a rigorous scientific review process, and in doing so, has failed to give its readers the complete story.



The companies that make and use metal cans understand the critical importance of the liner and are perplexed about why the media, including the Journal, ignore comprehensive risk assessment studies that support the safety of BPA as used in this packaging. Yes, the industry recently held a meeting in Washington to discuss this issue, as reported by the Journal.



Should it come as a surprise that our industry seeks to defend the legitimate scientific process that has concluded BPA is safe to use in food contact applications? Should it be viewed as a scandal that the accumulated frustration of the industry leads to consideration of alternative means of communication? We think not. Yet, a blatantly inaccurate and fabricated memo purportedly reporting on the discussion in that meeting is now being waved as evidence that the industry is colluding to cover up the facts. The Journal’s attempt to pass off this illegitimate memo from an unidentified source as proof that industry is trying to manipulate the process is shoddy journalism at best and a breach of journalistic ethics at worst.



The fact is, despite the best efforts of the Journal to portray the meeting as something sinister, it was nothing more than an effort by industry to find a way to correctly portray the science about bisphenol A that has been repeatedly ignored by the media. As just one example, a new study attributed to Harvard is reported in the press as further evidence confirming that BPA’s presence in urine causes myriad diseases in people. What is not reported is that this study tested levels of BPA found in a group of 77 Harvard students, and in fact, demonstrated clearly that BPA is rapidly cleared from the human body via urine, which is precisely why it does not present a health risk to people. We very efficiently get rid of it.



Contrary to its belief that it is exposing actions by industry to protect a compound that harms people, the reality is that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is doing a tremendous disservice to its readers and consumers everywhere by perpetuating an unfounded fear without regard to the full scientific reality.



About NAMPA



The North American Metal Packaging Alliance, Inc. and its members support sound science and trust the scientific review process that has protected our food supply for decades. For further information, visit www.metal-pack.org.