The remaining six cans contained the substance BADGE (Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether).
1.7 and 3.5 micrograms per can
The content of bisphenol A (BPA) in the lacquer inside the soda cans is low compared to the permitted limit and not of concern on its own but scientists are worried about the so-called cocktail effect – exposing people to problematic chemicals from many sources in our everyday lives.
Stine Müller, project manager, THINK Chemicals, said it sent 14 cans of soda, including Coca Cola, Pepsi, and sodas with orange or citrus content, for chemical analysis testing at an accredited laboratory.
The team looked for substances including: Bisphenol A; Bisphenol F; Bisphenol S and BADGE on the coating lacquer of the inside of the cans.
The content of the substances in the soda was not measured. But earlier research has shown that bisphenol A can migrate from packaging to food and beverages, and the substance can be found in canned beverages.
“None of the tested cans were completely free of bisphenols and/or BADGE,” said Müller.
“Bisphenol A was found in seven of the 14 cans; Bisphenol F was found in one of the 14 cans; Bisphenol S was not found in any of the cans and all cans except one contained BADGE, which is a substance that bisphenol A is a part of.”
The content of bisphenol A in the seven cans varied from between 1.7 and 3.5 micrograms per can.
The content of bisphenol F in the one can was 1.6 micrograms per can.
The content of bisphenol A and BADGE in the cans was low in comparison with the EU limit, which is about to be revised.
Bisphenol A is unwanted, because it has endocrine disrupting properties and can affect human reproduction negatively. Recent scientific studies show the substance may have a negative effect on the immune system.
Scientists know less about bisphenol F than about bisphenol A. But the substance is suspected to be endocrine disrupting like bisphenol A.
Consumer safety is of high importance
In response to the findings, Kasper Ibsen Beck, head of communications, Arla Denmark, which manufacturers Cocio chocolate milk said consumer safety is of high importance to the brand.
“We are disappointed about the method used for testing our Cocio cans because it does not represent a fair picture of the content, which can be found in the product itself. If this was tested, you would see the content of these substances is well below the permitted level and the limits set by the authorities,” he said.
Per Sten Nielsen, head of communications, Danish Brewers’ Association, which represents Carlsberg Denmark, Royal Unibrew and Harboes Bryggeri, also questioned the methods by which the cans were tested.
“We have not received the test report, and the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has not informed us about which laboratory was used to conduct the test. So we do not know how valid the test is,” he said.
“We only know it is neither the drink nor the migration that has been tested in spite of the fact that this is demanded according to regulation. In the results we have been presented with there is a difference between the cans from Carlsberg and Royal Unibrew.
“However, the two companies have the same supplier of cans, and the cans should be completely identical. This raises further questions regarding the validity of the test.”
Nielsen added, a person needs to drink 120 cans of soda per day to exceed EFSA’s recommended acceptable limit for bisphenol A.
The Danish Food Safety Authorities have tested several times food packaging for bisphenol A. These examinations confirm there are no problems in drinking canned sodas.
Consequently the tested packaging is nowhere near problematic in relation to current regulations and recommendations.
“Our members are always concerned with consumer safety. New packaging is continually being developed and the packaging we currently use is thoroughly tested to comply with all demands,” said Nielsen.
BPA packaging banned in France
“New packaging is always tested over a longer period of time and assessed to be at least as safe as the current packaging before it is put on the market. Also the consumer always has the choice to buy the product in a bottle, if they feel more comfortable with that.”
Concering the tests, Müller said it does not inform companies about which laboratories it uses to conduct its tests to ensure they can act independently of other interests.
She added it uses some of the same laboratories as those used by the industry, and a conflict of interest could occur if it publicized the names of the laboratories.
In Denmark both bisphenol A and BADGE are prohibited in packaging for food intended for children between 0 and three-years-old.
Bisphenol A is also banned in baby bottles in the EU, whereas France has banned the substance in all food packaging materials.
BADGE is on the Danish Environmental Protection Agency’s list of unwanted substances. The agency is in a process of mapping out the potential endocrine disrupting effects of BADGE for the EU.
Jan Erik Andersen, director, Premium Beer Import, which imports Orangina, said it will act on the results.
“Orangina notes that this test has found substances in levels marginally higher than the limit value. We will follow up on the results in our department of quality assurance, so a satisfactory quality is assured,” he said.
Malene Teller Blume, non food head of quality, Coop Denmark, added, it has banned bisphenols in canned foods and the ban therefore does not concern beer and soda cans.
“This is partly due to a risk assessment, since the migration is very low to beverages,” said Blume.
“To our knowledge there are still no alternatives to epoxy lacquer. But the cans contain BADGE and not bisphenol A which is fine.
“We are following the development. If it becomes possible to change the lacquer in soda cans, we would prefer that to be able to clearly state all cans are free of the substances.”