BPA, a toxic compound found in everything from water bottles to store receipts, has increasingly become a thorn in the side of companies that make canned foods and beverages—more so now that Canada has declared BPA to be a toxic substance. But as a report from As You Sow and Green Century Capital Management shows, plenty of major companies are ignoring the hazards posed by BPA, which includes breast cancer and early onset of puberty.
Last year's Seeking Safer Packaging report showed that every single major packaging company in the food industry still uses BPA. Many companies have made progress since then—Hain Celestial, ConAgra, and Heinz have all started using some BPA-free can linings and have timelines for cutting out the compound completely—but others, including Coca-Cola, Walmart, Del Monte, and Kraft, do not.
Coca-Cola is actually the focus of a larger As You Sow campaign. The organization's shareholder coalition has been in dialogue with Coca-Cola since December 2009 about the company's use of the compound. A shareholder resolution that would have forced Coca-Cola to disclose all measures they've taken to eliminate BPA received a 22% vote, and As You Sow plans to bring the resolution back every year until it passes.
Ultimately, though, reports like this will only act as partial catalysts to change. Real momentum will come from can manufacturers finding viable BPA alternatives. Because, as the Seeking Safer Packaging report notes, "There is a significant opportunity for these companies to capitalize on the burgeoning market for BPA-free can linings."
Check out the full report here.
Read More about Bisphenol A: The Real Story on BPA (from the February 2009 issue of Fast Company)