Oregonians To Fred Meyer: “We Don’t Want Toxic BPA!”

Post by Sophia Aguilera

OEC and our friends made quite a splash in Oregon’s city center this week. Passers-by in cars honked approval, and those on foot stopped to ask questions. It wasn’t just the adorable babies in our crowd that caught Portland’s attention; it was genuine interest in and concern about our reason for being in front of Fred Meyer: toxic BPA in food can linings.

Remember our grocery trip to local Portland-area stores including Fred Meyer back in 2015? It’s hard to forget, now that lab testing confirmed that most of the cans we purchased were lined with an epoxy that can leach the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) into food. In fact, the report Buyer Beware: Toxic BPA & Regrettable Substitutes in the Linings of Canned Food found BPA in a whopping 62% of store-brand cans tested as part of a national study.

At least one of the parents who joined us at Fred Meyer has been raising concerns about BPA for many years. Her daughter, now in grade school, was an infant in 2011 when Kroger (Fred Meyer’s parent company) pledged that they had “begun a process that we believe will result in the removal of BPA in the linings of canned goods in all of our corporate brand items” and that this issue “is a priority for our company and we are moving forward with the transition as quickly as possible.” It’s been over five years since Kroger made their pledge; it’s time for them to make good on their promise.

That’s why yesterday, complete with signs, neon flyers and bags filled with 73 confirmed BPA-laden cans in-hand and media following us along the way, we marched into Fred Meyer to ask them to replace and safely substitute BPA from food cans as part of a national day of action with our partners at Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

We returned all 73 cans to the store manager along with a signed letter highlighting our concerns. The store manager, and the clerks who took our returned cans, were very kind and accommodating (if a little surprised to see us). They promised to pass along our message to the corporate headquarters. That was a powerful moment.

But nothing brought home our point more than the concerned mothers who joined us while caring for their sleeping newborns. They have the right to be worried, as BPA has been detected in breast milk, amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood, suggesting that babies are exposed to BPA as newborns and even before they are born, during critical windows of development and vulnerability.

Thankfully, transitioning away from BPA to safer alternatives is not an impossible request. Some leading brands have already eliminated BPA from their can linings, and Kroger has made some progress. Now it is time for the Kroger company to make good on its promise and finish the job.

Will retailer giant Kroger and Fred Meyer hear our call? Over 100,000 customers have signed petitions to phase out toxic BPA in canned foods and use a safe substitute. Join them, and together we can send a strong, unified message to Fred Meyer and Kroger: we don’t want toxic BPA, we can and must do better for our communities!

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