There are several reasons why a boycott of major grocery producers would be a rational and appropriate response. Issues like genetically modified foods (GMO) and the mistreatment of animals bred for consumption are a couple that come quickly to mind.
However, there is currently a piece of major legislation being considered by the U.S. Senate, known as the Food Safety Modernization Act, which has drawn out the ire and political clout of the grocery industry. Senator Diane Feinstein of California is pushing for an amendment that would ban a substance calledBisphenol-A (or BPA as it is more commonly called) from use in all food and beverage containers. The scientific research is very convincing that BPA is a dangerous toxin, but groups such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are up in arms about the proposed amendment. The bottom line is money – to no surprise – as these groups are more concerned with profits than they are about the health of their customers.
Just How Bad is BPA?
Currently, there are more than 200 studies that have established a link between BPA and major health issues such as breast and other cancers, reproductive problems, and development issues, particularly in children.
Millions of pounds of BPA are manufactured every year, and a large part of it ends up in plastic food containers, water and baby bottles, and in the epoxy resins used to line food cans, including canned baby formula. Thus, BPA is one of the most commonly found chemicals in the modern world.
BPA, which has been in use since it was first formulated in the 1930’s, was considered a boon to the plastics industry because it makes manufacture of some types of plastic easier and cheaper.
Since then, BPA has been classified as an endocrine disrupter when introduced into animals and humans. In fact, before its use in plastics, BPA was originally developed as a synthetic estrogen. This is where the problem lies, because BPA mimics natural estrogen, thus disturbing the hormonal balance in the body. The result is increased risk and incidence of breast and other reproductive cancers, in much the same way that synthetic HRT has been linked to similar problems.
An organization called The Breast Cancer Fund, whose mission it is to explore and eliminate environmental causes of breast cancer, is also lobbying Congress about the food safety bill. As a clearinghouse for issues relating to breast cancer and other health concerns for women and children, they are appealing to Senators and trying to get them to look at the large body of evidence pointing towards the risks involved with BPA exposure.
Because of its chemical structure, BPA can easily leech into food products, such as baby formula, especially when containers are heated, as in a microwave. In several studies, BPA has been discovered in developing fetuses, placental tissue and amniotic fluid, and in human breast milk. The scientific verdict is becoming increasingly clear regarding the risks of BPA. In fact, the use of BPA in certain applications has already been restricted in five states, and thirteen more have similar legislation in process. Norway, Canada, and Taiwan are also considering limits to BPA usage.
Big Grocery and the FDA
While the rest of the world, it seems, is coming to terms with the obvious – that BPA is a toxic health risk – the FDA has been dragging their feet. They have stated they plan to study the effects of BPA over the next two years, and groups like the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are jumping on this. GMA claims that BPA should not be restricted or banned until the FDA decides what to do about this. It is clear that two years is far too long to await their decision, and the FDA’s track record of pandering to Big Business – at the risk of the American public – does not speak well of their objectivity in such rulings. Given all of this, a boycott of Big Grocery seems like a logical choice especially since their blatant actions prove that they do not have the consumer’s interest at heart.
Ideas for a Boycott
Perhaps it’s time for us as consumers to flex our own muscles. Even if BPA weren’t an issue, we can take a huge step forward in our wellness by making alternative choices in the way we eat.
- Grow your own produce. Organic gardening is the best way to ensure a steady supply of toxin-free and fresh fruits and vegetables that have maximum nutrition.
- Shop at local health food stores, co-ops and local farms. Choose real food that is not only BPA-free, but healthier in many other ways, too.
- Avoid commercial meats. Meat is one of the most profitable – and unhealthy – products for Big Grocery. If you opt to eat meat, go with organic and/or range-fed/pasture finished.
- Look for BPA-free. When you do patronize the grocery store, search out items that do not use BPA in packaging. This may encourage the introduction of more such products. Vote with your pocketbook!
We are certainly at the point where it is much safer for our health and well-being to by-pass the local grocery store and the “dead” foods that it markets, not only for ourselves but for our children. It is my opinion that if we do not wake-up to the un-healthy condition of our food supply, we will likely witness the first generation (children right now) who will have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
Source: Oasis Advanced Wellness