US: Strategy being devised to protect use of BPA
Posted: May 31st, 2009 - 2:43pm
Manufacturers of cans for beverages and foods and some of their biggest customers, including Coca-Cola, are trying to devise a public relations and lobbying strategy to block government bans of a controversial chemical used in the linings of metal cans and lids.
According to internal notes of a private meeting, obtained by The Washington Post, frustrated industry executives huddled for hours Thursday trying to figure out how to tamp down public concerns over the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA. The notes said the executives are particularly concerned about the views of young mothers, who often make purchasing decisions for households and who are most likely to be focused on health concerns.
Those at the meeting held at the Cosmos Club "believe a balance of legislative and grassroots outreach [to mothers 21 to 35 years old and students] is imperative to the stability of their industry; however, the association members continue to struggle to initiate research and develop a clear-cut plan to defend their industry," an unidentified participant wrote.
Industry representatives weighed a range of ideas, including "using fear tactics [e.g. "Do you want to have access to baby food anymore?" as well as giving control back to consumers (e.g. you have a choice between the more expensive product that is frozen or fresh or foods packaged in cans) as ways to dissuade people from choosing BPA-free packaging," the notes said.
The attendees estimated it would cost $500,000 to craft a message for a public relations campaign, according to the notes. "Their 'holy grail' spokesperson would be a 'pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around the country about the benefits of BPA,' " the notes said.
Those in attendance said the mainstream media are ignoring their side of the controversy, and attendees talked about how the group is focusing on "legislative battles and befriending people that are able to manipulate the legislative process," the document said.