The government of Canada formally announced on Wednesday that bisephenol A (BPA), a primary chemical ingredient used to make clear, hard plastics, is a toxic substance. BPA also lines aluminum cans used for soft drinks, fruits and vegetables. According to Environment Canada, the government organization that banned the compound, BPA can negatively affect animals’ hormonal systems and thereby poses a threat to humans who consume those animals.
Six U.S. states have already banned the use of BPA in children’s products, but the U.S. federal government has not taken an official stance on the issue. Europe has taken the opposite approach and the European Food Safety Authority released a report that cited no conclusive evidence that BPA is harmful to humans or animals. France and Denmark have imposed temporary bans in the past.
Canada will begin enforcing the new legislation by limiting how much BPA can be released into air and water by factories that use the compound, to the dismay of the chemical industry. The American Chemistry Council condemned Environment Canada’s decision, claiming it will “unnecessarily confuse and alarm the public.”
June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.