Bisphenol A is a chemical that is commonly used
to coat plastic bottles and cans.
"It does have some dangerous qualities
that can seep from the can into the liquid
that the can is holding."


It may be a hormone disrupter
that could cause cancer.

Yesterday I printed a story where a scientist explained how plastic water bottles seep chemicals into the so-called pure water they contain, and how Canada is knowingly planning to contaminate the cleanest water on the planet - located in a tiny township near Toronto - by allowing a garbage dump to be built on its source. See GARBAGING WORLD'S PUREST WATER.

I also printed a story about how the multi-national conglomerate - Coca-Cola - is sucking so much water out of an Indian village that the surrounding farmers are suffering drought and disease from the chemicals Coke puts in their fertilizer. See SAVE WATER, BOYCOTT COKE.

Now, in today's news, there's a story about how a chemical in Coke and other soda-pop cans seeps into the drink and causes cancer, especially in children, who are exposed to it longer. The powers-that-be - including government, environmentalists and Coca-Cola Canada - say drinking the chemical isn't any different than exposure to it in eyeglasses, appliances and automobile parts.

It sure puts an Orwellian spin on the old "Things go better with Coke" slogan. ~ Jackie Jura

Soft-drink risk: It's in the can and it's chemical
by Mike de Souza, MontrealGazette, Dec 18, 2006

While some experts worry cola isn't the best ingredient in a healthy lifestyle, federal Health Minister Tony Clement is setting his sights on the cans. A few days after tabling the government's $300-million plan for managing chemical substances over four years, Clement says soft-drink manufacturers and many other industries will now be forced to prove their products are not putting the health of Canadians at risk.

"The obligation is now with the industry to show that the chemicals can be used safely in a given setting, whether it's an industrial setting or a household setting," Clement said in an interview.

Bisphenol A is on a list of about 200 chemicals that must be tested in the coming months. The substance is commonly used to coat plastic bottles and cans. Recent peer-reviewed studies have concluded it may also be a hormone disrupter that could cause cancer.

"The industry that produces soft-drink cans has to show that that particular chemical, which does have some dangerous qualities to it, does not seep from the can into the liquid that the can is holding," Clement said.

Coca-Cola Canada coats cans with the substance to prolong the shelf life of its products, said David Moran, director of public affairs and communications at the soft-drink company. The company has always met safety standards based on the existing scientific evidence, he said. "What we're doing is following generally accepted international practices that have been scientifically proven to be safe in other jurisdictions," Moran said. "Having said that, we're a Canadian company operating in Canada and we'll follow whatever the Canadian government comes up with in terms of new regulations."

Bisphenol A can normally be identified in products by the triangular symbol for recycling with a "7" in the middle.

An industry official insisted there was no reason for alarm, because the current review is designed to make use of new techniques to measure and assess products. "That's the purpose here - to give consumers confidence," said Gabby Nobrega, senior vice-president for Food and Consumer Products of Canada. "You may read one article or you may read one study, but the government process is allowing industry, regulators and everybody to look at the use of substances in the totality of what we know about them, and that's critical," she said.

Nobrega noted Bisphenol A is also widely used in a variety of products, including eyeglasses, appliances and automobile parts. Environmental groups suggest this makes it harder to test or find people who have not been exposed to it. "That's one of the problems with environmental contaminants," said Kapil Khatter, a physician who works as a consultant for Environmental Defence, formerly the Canadian Environmental Defence Fund. "We're all getting exposed. So it's very hard to find an effect because there's not enough difference between those who are exposed and those who aren't."

Aaron Freeman, the director of policy at Environmental Defence, said soft-drink companies should immediately replace Bisphenol A with alternative products that are already available. If there are any health risks found through testing, he said it could take nearly five years of legally required procedures to remove the products from the shelves. Despite his warnings, Clement said Canada is leading the world by making health issues a priority, thanks to a review of 23,000 chemical substances that began several years ago. "It's a case of us, I believe, putting the proper emphasis on human safety, (and) human health," Clement said.

"Certainly, a group that is most at risk if nothing is done would be children, because their immune systems are not as developed as ours are, and there's a longer period of time during which they could be exposed to some of these substances," he said. "So I just think that this is about protecting our kids, it's about dealing with rising incidence of cancer, or other environmental diseases, and so to me, this is revolutionary."

Mexican Coke tax hurts poor. CNN, Dec 20, 2006
A proposed tax on fizzy drinks has caused a stir in Mexico, which quaffs more Coca-Cola products per capita than any other nation and has adopted soda alongside tacos and chiles into the national diet. The Senate on Wednesday rejected a 5 percent tax on all carbonated beverages, a controversial part of new President Felipe Calderon's 2007 budget plan. Opponents say it would have hurt the poor, many of whom prefer sodas because potable water is less available and sometimes more expensive. Each Mexican gulps down an average of about 40 gallons (150 liters) of carbonated drinks a year, according to the country's producers. Year-round heat throughout much of the country helps to whet their thirst. "Many people are so addicted that without Coke, they can't live," said street burger vendor Gonzalo Alvarez...




14.Scientific Experimentation and BIOLOGICAL/CHEMICAL WARFARE

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~