Toronto – Environmental Defence congratulated Mountain Equipment Co-op today for stopping the sale of most products containing a controversial chemical, bisphenol A, until the federal government provides guidance on the health risks of the chemical.
The move by Mountain Equipment Co-op is particularly significant as bisphenol A is currently under review as part of the federal government’s Chemicals Management Plan, and the McGuinty government in Ontario recently announced an expert panel will review toxic chemicals, including bisphenol A.
“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, 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 is the first major Canadian retailer to stop selling products that contain bisphenol A. It joins Patagonia as the only other major retailer in North America to pull bisphenol A products from its shelves.

Bisphenol A is used in hard, clear plastic reusable bottles (such as some Nalgene bottles) and 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. 
 
A study co-released earlier this week by Washington-based Environmental Working Group and Environmental Defence found that makers of infant formula use bisphenol A to line cans of liquid and powered formula. Previous studies show that the bisphenol A can leach into the formula. Environmental Defence is working with daycare centres across Canada to remove products containing bisphenol A, including plastic baby bottles and sippy cups.
 
As part of its national Toxic Nation campaign, Environmental Defence has tested Canadians and politicians for toxic chemicals in their bodies. Everyone tested for bisphenol A had measurable levels in their blood. Full test results are available online at www.toxicnation.ca.
 
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, safe food and thriving ecosystems. Nationwide.
 
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)