In some of the products labeled “BPA free”, or bisphenol A free, the Consumers Union have actually found elevated levels of the chemical additive. BPA is a plastic hardener and a component of epoxy resin. Some studies have connected the chemical with reproductive abnormalities and increased risks of cancer and diabetes. Many foreign governments have prohibited the sale of baby bottles made with BPA. The finding boosts the case for banning BPA in materials that come in contact with food and beverages, such as can linings, baby bottles and sippy cups.
Consumers Union tested nineteen name-brand foods in paper, plastic and metal containers. The tests were said to be "a snapshot of the marketplace" and not intended as conclusive evidence of BPA levels in any given brand or type of product. According to the results of the report released by the consumer group, multiple servings of some of the tested food, such as those found in a can of Del Monte Fresh Cut Blue Lake Green Beans, would give a small child an amount of BPA approaching the level where adverse effects, such as abnormal reproductive development, have been seen in animal studies. A Del Monte spokesperson said they use BPA because it is the best method to date for preserving food, but will be closely following the FDA’s review.
While a study in 2008 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claimed BPA was safe in food contact materials, critics accused the agency of basing its report on out-of-date studies sponsored by the chemical industry. The American Chemistry Council also stated the Consumers Union findings were not consistent with the results of experts worldwide, who believe the levels of BPA are low and well within the safety standards.
An FDA official made no immediate comment but would make a decision on how to proceed by the end of the month. So far, several major retail chains have removed products containing BPA from their shelves. In March, six manufacturers of baby bottles agreed to stop selling bottles containing BPA in the United States, Canada has forbidden use of the chemical in baby bottles, and Connecticut, Minnesota, the city of Chicago and Suffolk County, New York, have banned baby bottles and sippy cups made with BPA.