- The California Environmental Protection Agency has decided to delay state-required warnings on metal canned goods with lining that contains BPA. Last year, CEPA added BPA to its list of chemicals requiring warning labels per Proposition 65.
- Instead, the agency is requiring retailers to post general warnings at checkout counters about the presence of BPA in the liners of certain canned and bottled products. After about a year, the agency may begin requiring companies to label BPA on the products.
- CEPA argues that product label warnings could cause retailers and consumers to avoid canned fruits and vegetables. At times, these are the only fruits and vegetables available in stores, particularly in poor neighborhoods and food deserts.
Opinions about BPA are mixed. FDA banned BPA from use in baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012, but the agency says BPA that leeches from packaging and into food is otherwise safe. More studies are being conducted to determine the safety of BPA in food product liners.
State officials have said they believe having access to canned fruits and vegetables with BPA liners is better than not having access to those fruit and vegetable sources at all. This is the case in food desert areas where grocery stores are few and far between and may not offer extensive fresh produce selections.
Community groups are outraged by this argument. They say that this move "[excludes] a whole sub-population of people from protection," Jose T. Bravo, executive director of Just Transition Alliance, told Huron Daily Tribune.
Such consumer backlash may give manufacturers pause to reconsider using BPA. However, alternatives to BPA aren't always as acceptable to consumers either. A recent study linked BPS, a BPA substitute, to an increase in fat cell formation.