For Immediate Release
EWG Public Affairs, (202) 667-6982 or (202) 441-6214
Infant Formula Makers and Canned Food Producers Called On To Remove BPA
WASHINGTON - In
the wake of an FDA advisory panel's devastating rebuke of the agency's
safety assessment for the toxic plastics chemical bisphenol A (BPA)
Environmental Working Group (EWG) has written North America's leading
infant formula manufacturers and canned food producers urging them to
take immediate steps to remove BPA from canned infant formula and other
BPA, discovered in the 1930's to be a synthetic estrogen, is a
component of plastic resins that leach from can linings into food.
"Liquid formula is the biggest culprit in exposing infants to a toxic
hormone-disrupting chemical, but kid-friendly foods like canned chicken
noodle soup and ravioli also have high levels of BPA," said EWG Senior
Analyst Sonya Lunder. "BPA was initially used as a sex hormone. It
should never have been allowed to come into contact with infant
"The evidence is overwhelming that FDA has been the industry's lapdog,"
Lunder said. "Manufacturers must immediately repackage formula and
canned food to remove this chemical, shown by many studies to cause
brain and reproductive system damage in crucial stages of development."
A 2007 Environmental Working Group survey <http://www.ewg.org/reports/
of the four leading makers of liquid formula sold in North America
found that all used BPA-based epoxy resin coating to line their formula
cans. These included Nestlé (Good Start), Ross-Abbot (Similac and
Isomil), MeadJohnson (Enfamil), and PBM (maker of store-brand formulas
sold at Target, Kroger and dozens of other retailers).
An EWG research report, Toxic Plastics Chemical in Infant Formula <http://www.ewg.org/reports/
concluded that infants fed exclusively on canned ready-to-eat formula
are exposed to unsafe levels of BPA and that one in 16 babies on liquid
formula are exposed to doses exceeding those that caused damage in
EWG found that infants fed liquid formula, which can make up their
total diet for the first six months of life, suffered the greatest
exposures to the toxin. EWG calculations show that babies should not
be fed liquid formula sold in metal cans. Powdered formula or liquid
types sold in plastic containers are BPA-free options.
In a second study, also in 2007, EWG laboratory tests found BPA in 20
out of 30 brands of canned food, amounting to more than half of the
cans of foods tested. One to three servings per day of foods found to
be highly contaminated, including chicken soup and ravioli, could
expose an infant, child or a pregnant woman to BPA at levels that have
caused serious harm in animal studies.
Food brands found to contain BPA were B&M, Bush's Best, Campbell's
Chunky, Campbell's Spaghettios, Campbell's Swanson, Chef Boyardee,
Chicken of the Sea, Coca-Cola, Del Monte, Dole, Ensure, Green Giant,
Kroger store brand, Libby's, Nestle Carnation, Pepsi-Cola, Progresso,
S&W, Slim-Fast and Wolfgang Puck.
In a strongly worded report released Tuesday, the FDA Science Board's
BPA subcommittee concluded that an internal FDA assessment of BPA
contained a number of serious scientific flaws and significantly
underestimated the health risks of BPA.
Much of the scientific research on BPA has focused on damage to the
developing brains and bodies of fetuses and infants, but some recent
studies have linked the toxin to diabetes and heart disease in adults.
Earlier this week, a new study <http://www.ehponline.org/
published by Environmental Health Perspectives found that BPA rendered
breast cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy treatment.
EWG's analysis of the FDA Science Board BPA subcommittee report and its
concerns about BPA contamination of infant formula can be found here. <http://www.ewg.org/node/
NOTE: Text of the letters from EWG president Ken Cook to the
CEOs of major food companies and infant formula manufacturers are
below. The individual, signed copies will be available online soon.
EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.