Apparently Campbell's has announced that it is moving forward with plans for packaging free of Bisphenol-A, "regardless of [the] U.S. Food and Drug Administration's decision on the chemical, due later this month." At first I was pleased by this announcement -- maybe my kids have actually started to bankrupt them -- but after further thought, I am left wondering if the move is some kind of ploy to avoid having the FDA regulate the use of BPA. If industry regulates itself, so the thinking might go, the FDA might not bother. Or perhaps it is simply a preliminary PR move -- to avoid having to spin the fact that Campbell's, a company that constantly evokes healthiness as part of its marketing, waited until ordered by the government to remove a dangerous chemical from its products.
Campbell’s Soup spokesman Anthony Sanzio indicated to the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal that the company has been working on an alternative for their can linings, and plans to switch to the alternative when “feasible alternatives are available.” He did not, however, provide a date to indicate just when that might be accomplished.
That last line is most telling. We need a date, Campbell's. My distrust of the company may seem paranoid but they've been known to be deliberately misleading about their health claims before. For instance, in a highly publicized move -- remember those commercials featuring a Campbell's factory worker standing in a room full of salt? -- they reduced the sodium in their soups in order to make it healthier and then, after sales were affected, they quietly put it back in.
If you want to let the FDA know you want a ruling prohibiting the use of BPA in food packaging NOW, please go here.
I am feeling a lot like this woman today, and I especially find myself reflected in her glassy/crazed-eye expression. Thank god March Break is almost over.
Recently discovered: Emily Matchar's blog The New Domesticity, through The Hairpin. I have been loving it. Matchar, who is 29 years old and childless, is writing a book about the current "fascination with reviving 'lost' domestic arts like canning, bread-baking, knitting, chicken-raising, etc." In her book, she plans to tease out the answers to questions like "Why are women of my generation, the daughters of post-Betty Friedan feminists, embracing the domestic tasks that our mothers and grandmothers so eagerly shrugged off? Why has the image of the blissfully domestic supermom overtaken the Sex & the City-style single urban careerist as the media’s feminine ideal? Where does this movement come from? What does it mean for women? For families? For society?" (You may have read Emily's article Why I Can't Stop Reading Mormon Blogs.) Her blog is a sort of scrapbook of her research and her posts have been both thoughtful and informative. Today she linked to Is It Safe to Play Yet?, an article in the NYT that sort of poo poos the current movement to keep children safe from dangerous chemicals that may (or may not be) in all the stuff that surrounds us. I have always downplayed the danger to our kids from toxins in the environment until I recently did some research about the effects of BPA on development and freaked out a little bit and wrote the Campbell's Soup letter, and then did more research (see Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things )and freaked out a little more.
I am also fascinated by the work of food historian Rachel Laudan, to whom Emily linked. In her article In Praise of Fast Food, Rachel reminds us of the sheer work historically involved in making food from scratch -- I was shocked to learn the fact that until the 60s Mexican women had to spend FIVE HOURS A DAY grinding maize in order to make tortillas. Does anyone really want to go back to that kind of labour? (I should get to work on my business plan for a healthy fast food restaurant version of McDonald's, complete with non-toxic happy meal toys.)
Anyway, there is plenty of good stuff to read on The New Domesticity for those who enjoy embracing traditional domestic tasks and those who would hire a full-time housekeeper if they could. (Like me.)
I would write more but must go referee an ongoing battle today between Luke and Vivi. Vivi insists that today is Luke's birthday and Luke insists that it is not. You'd think this would be resolved by a two-line exchange but they have probably exchanged more than two hundred lines on the topic today, accompanied by storms of tears from both parties. And by "parties" I do not mean birthday parties.
Image by colleendowd on flickr.
One of my New Year's resolution-ish thingys (I never keep New Year's resolutions but maybe I'll manage to keep them if I don't actually call them that) is to avoid as many dangerous chemicals as possible in food and household products, particularly where the kids are concerned. This morning, while sitting in the dentist's office waiting for the dental hygienist (when actually I was supposed to be sitting in the optometrist''s office waiting for the optemetrist's assistant, but that's another story) I happened upon this passage in Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things:
The creation of the first flammability regulations to protect consumers was brought about by a series of deadly fires caused by new ingredients in fabrics in the years following World War II. During the Christmas season of 1951, "torch sweaters" became all the rage. The sweaters were made of brushed rayon and in some circumstances would explode when a spark was dropped on them. Children were also affected. In one case young Michael Blessington was burned to death when his "Gene Autry" cowboy suit caught fire. It turns out that the chaps in the suit were made of flammable rayon. The worst and perhaps most bizarre incident involved a woman who was critically burned when the netted underskirt in her ball gown exploded. The underskirt was made from nitrocellulose (the basis of gunpowder) and ignited in a rather dramatic fashion at a New Year's Eve party.
I wonder if Aimee Bender, author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, had heard about that woman in the exploding ball gown when she wrote her story.