The Madeleine Brand Show for March 29, 2012

FDA grapples with BPA ban

BPA in cans

Neo Vision/Getty Images/amana images RM

A Harvard study found that participants who consumed canned soup had BPA levels in their urine that were about 12 times higher than the people who didn't.

This week, the US Food and Drug Administration is facing a big decision on whether or not to ban BPA (bisphenol a) from food containers.

BPA is widely used in plastic drinking bottles and tin cans, and researchers have found that exposure to the chemical has been linked to neurological problems, early puberty and infertility - among other health problems. California already bans BPA in baby bottles and sippy-cups, but the FDA's decision could force a wider crackdown nationwide.

Studies show that infants and young children are the most at-risk to BPA, which mimics the effects of hormones. Even in tiny amounts, it can impact the human body and behavior in adverse ways, according to researchers.

Metal packaging companies that use BPA have argued that the chemical is safe, since it helps ward off food poisoning. But, as Bryan Walsh of Time Magazine told Madeleine Brand, there are other, less-problematic products that could be used in its place.


Bryan Walsh, senior writer at Time Magazine, runs the environment blog Ecocentric for Time's website.

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