EWG Calls on Coca-Cola to Protect Customers From BPA

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EWG Calls on Coca-Cola to Protect Customers From BPA

Coca-Cola Rep Discussed “Fear Tactics” to Save BPA at Infamous “Cosmos Club” Confab

WASHINGTON - Environmental
Working Group (EWG) today called on The Coca-Cola Company's chairman
and chief executive officer Muhtar Kent to take immediate steps to
reduce children's exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a toxic chemical used
in beverage bottles and beverage can linings.
 

"Along with hundreds of thousands of Environmental Working Group supporters, I was very disappointed to read reports in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel <http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/46510647.html> and The Washington Post <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2009/05/30/AR2009053002121.html?hpid=topnews>
that a Coca-Cola representative joined chemical and food processing
company lobbyists in a recent meeting to consider, among other things,
the use of "fear tactics" to protect the market for the toxic chemical
bisphenol A (BPA)," EWG's President, Ken Cook wrote Kent.   

An internal industry document obtained by journalists and EWG <http://www.ewg.org/bpa/newsrelease/cocacola-delmonte-caught-decieve-moms-over-bpa>
 show that a Coca-Cola representative took part in a May 28 food and
chemical industry strategy session at Washington's exclusive Cosmos
Club, during which, the document said, "Attendees suggested using fear
tactics (e.g. ‘Do you want to have access to baby food anymore?')" 
According to the leaked document, "Their ‘holy grail' spokesperson
would be a ‘pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around
the country about the benefits of BPA'." 
 

"Is this the kind of "marketing" effort that Coca-Cola stands behind
when it comes to toxic chemicals that contaminate the food supply?" 
Cook wrote. 
 

BPA, a synthetic estrogen, has been linked to a number of serious
health conditions, including breast and prostate cancer, neurological
and reproductive system disorders, diabetes and obesity - all on the
rise in the U.S. Food containers made with BPA-based plastics have been
found to leach the toxic contaminant into their contents.  Last March,
Canadian government scientists reported detecting BPA <http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/packag-emball/bpa/bpa_survey-enquete-can-eng.php>  in Coca-Cola products Coke, Diet Coke, Fresca, Barq's Root Beer, Full Throttle Fury Energy Drink, Sprite and Tab,  
 

The text of Mr. Cook's letter to Kent is below.  

***

   

June 10, 2009

 

Mr. Muhtar Kent

Chairman of the Board and CEO

The Coca-Cola Company

1 Coca-Cola Plaza, NW

Atlanta, GA 30313
 

Dear Mr. Kent,
 

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

Along with hundreds of thousands of Environmental Working Group (EWG) supporters, I was very disappointed to read reports in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Washington Post
that a Coca-Cola representative joined chemical and food processing
company lobbyists in a recent meeting to consider, among other things,
the use of "fear tactics" to protect the market for the toxic chemical
bisphenol A (BPA).  According to minutes of that meeting, one
participant proposed a media campaign around the misleading slogan: "Do
you want to have access to baby food anymore?" The "holy grail," the
memo said, would be to find a pregnant woman to serve as a spokesperson
to tout the benefits of BPA. 
 

Is this the kind of "marketing" effort that The Coca-Cola Company
stands behind when it comes to toxic chemicals that contaminate the
food supply? 

The leaked minutes depict desperate industries willing to do almost
anything to avert government restrictions on the use of BPA in products
for young children.  The overall impression is one of callous disregard
for the ample scientific evidence that BPA, known to be a synthetic
estrogen since the 1930s, disrupts the endocrine system and is
associated with breast and prostate cancer, neurological and
reproductive system disorders and diabetes and obesity - all on the
rise in the U.S. 

Scientists have repeatedly shown that BPA readily leaches out of
plastic food containers into their contents.  Notably, Canadian
government researchers have found that BPA migrates from can linings
into popular soft drinks, including numerous Coca-Cola products: Coke,
Diet Coke, Fresca, Barq's Root Beer, Full Throttle Fury Energy Drink,
Sprite and Tab. 

It is clear that the days of BPA in food containers designed for young
children are coming to an end.  The states of Minnesota and Connecticut
have adopted laws to prohibit use of the chemical in products for
children three and under.  The California State Senate has passed a
similar measure, and the city of Chicago will soon prohibit the sale of
any BPA-laced products for children three and under within the city
limits.  Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the federal Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has promised to reassess her agency's position on
low-dose exposures of BPA.
 

More than a decade ago, because of concerns about high levels of BPA in
bioassays of teenagers and young adults, most Japanese food processing
removed or dramatically reduced the use of BPA in can linings,
switching to safer, less expensive PET(polyrthylene terephthalate) film
lamination.  As a result, a 2002 study found that BPA levels among
Japanese students dropped by fully 50 percent between 1992 and 1999.
 

On behalf of EWG's supporters, I strongly urge you and your company to
join other major U.S. corporations like Walmart, Toys R' Us, Nalgene
and Sunoco in taking steps to reduce children's exposure to BPA.  I
thank you for your consideration and look forward to your response to
this request to protect millions of your customers from further
exposure to a toxic chemical that poses a serious threat to public
health.
 
 

Sincerely,

Kenneth A. Cook
President
 

 

###

The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. EWG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles.

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