Wednesday, November 23, 2011
One night not too long ago, as my wife Katherine and I settled into the kitchen to make some pasta sauce, I reached into the cupboard for a can of our favorite organic, fire-roasted tomatoes. These tomatoes were expensive, and, we'd always thought, entirely worth it.
Like many such products, the tomatoes were packed in a can that came with a full array of marketing cues: plump fruit ripening on the vine; the word "organic" splashed not just across the top of the can but emblazoned in the (now-ubiquitous) USDA organic logo below as well. Another line boasted that the can was packed in "lead-free" enamel. Clearly, the company's marketing department had figured out that -- for a certain segment of shoppers, anyway -- what is left out of a product is as important as what is put in.
On a whim, Katherine decided to put a call into the company anyway. She had been hearing that many canned fruits and vegetables were packed in cans lined with Bisphenol A, a plastic that is a known hormone disruptor. At the time, a couple of years ago, BPA had been in the news a lot: reports had been surfacing, for example, that the chemical leaked from plastic baby bottles into breast milk. Studies were emerging that consistently linked the chemical to breast cancer, testicular cancer, and a host of reproductive problems. A handful of states had become so alarmed by the chemical they had banned it outright (though, frustratingly, often only from products that wound up in baby's mouths)...[Full Article]
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