Le Sad - LaCroix Sparkling Water uses BPA in Cans
LaCroix (pronounced “la-croy”) is a calorie free, artificial sweetener free, sparkling water that is advertised as "always 100% natural with nothing artificial."
I discovered LaCroix at this past year's PaleoFX and was immediately hooked. Soda had long been excluded from my regular diet, predating my Paleo conversion by many years, but there is something particularly refreshing about a carbonated beverage especially during hot Florida summers.
LaCroix almost seemed too good to be true and with so much news about BPA in aluminum cans swirling around the interwebs, I got to wondering if BPA was found in LaCroix cans.
"BPA free" was conspicuously absent from the package labeling, so I did a quick search on Dr. Google.
The first search result was for the official LaCroix website FAQ and it told me everything I needed to know:
"All LaCroix products meet the guidelines set by the FDA and are completely safe to drink. Recently, media reports have raised questions about the use of bisphenol A (BPA) by can manufacturers. While can linings may contain trace amounts of BPA to prevent spoilage and protect food and beverages from direct contact with the can, these trace amounts are virtually eliminated during the curing process.
Consumers can familiarize themselves with the facts by visiting the American Beverage Association´s website"
"May contain"? "Trace amounts"? "Virtually eliminated"? "Familiarize myself with the facts by visiting the American Beverage Association's website"? That's like going to the American Sugar Alliance to learn "the facts" about sugar! Such phrasing hardly inspires confidence given that the FDA itself has expressed "some concern" about human exposure to BPA. Keeping in mind all the crazy shit the FDA has deemed "safe", I interpret "some concern" to mean "yeah this will pretty much kill you, but whatevs."
Check out what FDA.gov, the official website of the Food and Drug Administration has to say about BPA:
"BPA is an industrial chemical used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate, which has been used in many consumer products, including reusable water bottles. BPA is also found in epoxy resins, which act as a protective lining on the inside of metal-based food and beverage cans. These uses of BPA are subject to premarket approval by FDA as indirect food additives or food contact substances. The original approvals were issued under FDA’s food additive regulations and date from the 1960s.
Studies employing standardized toxicity tests used globally for regulatory decision making thus far have supported the safety of current low levels of human exposure to BPA. However, results of recent studies using novel approaches and different endpoints describe BPA effects in laboratory animals at very low doses corresponding to some estimated human exposures. Many of these new studies evaluated developmental or behavioral effects that are not typically assessed in standardized tests.
The National Toxicology Program Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, part of the National Institutes of Health, completed a review of BPA in September 2008. The National Toxicology Program uses five different terms to describe its level of concern about the different effects of chemicals: negligible concern, minimal concern, some concern, concern, and serious concern.
In its report on BPA, the National Toxicology Program expressed “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human expo¬sures to bisphenol A.” The Program also expressed “minimal concern for effects on the mammary gland and an earlier age for puberty for females in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A” and “negligible concern” for other outcomes."
So the FDA says that BPA is a 3 out of 5 on their "concern" scale, which means that we're basically at a significant risk of terror..I mean health effects.
Seemingly blase about their own "concern," the FDA goes on to say that they aren't about to do anything since it would be too much trouble to get rid of BPA since the FDA has already allowed it to be in everything without anyone telling the FDA what has BPA in it.
"Current BPA food contact uses were approved under food additive regulations issued more than 40 years ago. This regulatory structure limits the oversight and flexibility of FDA. Once a food additive is approved, any manufacturer of food or food packaging may use the food additive in accordance with the regulation. There is no requirement to notify FDA of that use. For example, today there exist hundreds of different formulations for BPA-containing epoxy linings, which have varying characteristics. As currently regulated, manufacturers are not required to disclose to FDA the existence or nature of these formulations. Furthermore, if FDA were to decide to revoke one or more approved uses, FDA would need to undertake what could be a lengthy process of rulemaking to accomplish this goal."
If you're thinking, "How much BPA is actually getting into LaCroix water if it's only in the can lining?" read on...
"The vast majority of BPA in our bodies comes from ingestion of contaminated food and water. The compound is often used as an internal barrier in food packaging, so that the product we eat or drink does not come into direct contact with a metal can or plastic container. When heated or washed, though, plastics containing BPA can break down and release the chemical into the food or liquid they hold. As a result, roughly 93 percent of the U.S. population has detectable levels of BPA in their urine.
The researchers point specifically to the continuing presence of BPA in aluminum cans as a major problem. 'Most people agree the majority of BPA exposure in the United States comes from aluminum cans,” Trasande said. 'Removing it from aluminum cans is probably one of the best ways we can limit exposure. There are alternatives that manufacturers can use to line aluminum cans.'"
(Read the full article "Is the Can Worse Than the Soda? Study Finds Correlation Between BPA and Obesity" here)
The good news is that LaCroix is actually sold in BPA free glass bottles. The bad news is these bottles are only available in "parts" of Illinois and Wisconsin. D'oh!
From the official LaCroix website:
"Originally bottled and sold locally in glass, LaCroix is now sold primarily in 100% recyclable cans; however the original bottles may still be found today on store shelves in parts of Wisconsin and Illinois."
I think that LaCroix should offer all of its customers the option to purchase their product in glass bottles, and if you do to, join me in contacting them here or blowing up their Facebook page here.
For the time being, however, I'm going to stop drinking LaCroix, with makes me feel quite Le Sad.