Mountain pulls plastic bottles
CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, December 07, 2007
Mountain Equipment Co-op has become the first major Canadian retailer to stop selling products that contain the controversial chemical bisphenol A.
Canada's largest outdoor-goods retailer has pulled off its shelves most food and drink containers made from polycarbonate plastic, which is made mostly from bisphenol A.
The company, concerned over possible health risks associated to bisphenol A, has not issued an official press release but instructed staff to take action on Wednesday.
Among the products taken from the shelves were Nalgene water bottles, the brightly coloured containers that have become a bestseller across Canada.
Bisphenol A is under review as part of the federal government's Chemicals Management Plan, and the Ontario government recently announced an expert panel will review toxic chemicals, including bisphenol A.
Mountain Equipment Co-op joins Patagonia as the only other major retailer in North America to take this action. The company was congratulated today by Toronto-based Environmental Defence.
"The writing is on the wall for bisphenol A. When a product loses consumer confidence to this extent it's obviously time to move to the safer, comparably priced alternatives," said Dr. Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence.
"We congratulate MEC for this leadership and fully expect this to start a snowball effect with other retailers taking similar steps."
Mountain Equipment Co-op plans to stop the sale of most products containing bisphenol A until the federal government provides guidance on the health risks of the chemical.
The move is particularly significant as bisphenol A is currently under review as part of the federal government's Chemicals Management Plan, and the Ontario government recently announced an expert panel will review toxic chemicals, including bisphenol A.
Bisphenol A is used in hard, clear plastic reusable bottles, baby bottles, and the linings of some food cans (including cans of infant formula).
Two recent panels in the U.S. have pointed to potential health effects of exposure to bisphenol A. The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences expert panel of 38 leading scientists found that most people are exposed to bisphenol A at levels higher than those that cause health effects in animal studies.
An expert panel of the U.S. National Toxicology Program concluded recently that bisphenol A exposure to fetuses and to children could have behavioural and nervous system impacts.