But BPA-free isn’t.
The green jihad against bisphenol A (BPA) will expand to the annual shareholder meeting of the Panera Bread Company with a shareholder proposal (below) to pressure the company to use BPA-free paper.
But as we’ve pointed out before, BPA-free isn’t.
The value of Panera Bread Company’s brand is based in part on customer trust. We believe that if the company’s cash register thermal receipt paper contain bisphenol A (BPA), a potentially hazardous chemical, that trust could be put at risk.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated “Some receipts made of thermal paper may now contain as much as 10 mg. of BPA, which could pose a risk for human exposure, as well as account for substantial environmental releases of BPA.” http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/projects/bpa/index.htm
BPA reportedly mimics estrogen in the body; a number of animal studies link BPA, even at very low doses, to potential changes in brain structure, immune system, male and female reproductive systems, and to tissue associated with increased rates of breast cancer. Experts are particularly concerned about exposure to BPA by the very young and pregnant women.
A scientific study published July 11, 2011 found that BPA transfers readily from receipts to skin and can penetrate the skin to such a depth that it cannot be washed off. http://www.springerlink.com/content/d5j507113141120h/
In a 2008 Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health report, BPA was shown to penetrate skin in laboratory studies. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15287390801906824#preview
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association associated BPA with increased risk for human heart disease and diabetes. http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/300/11/1303.full
The US Food and Drug Administration has expressed concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children, and supports additional research. http://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm064437.htm
Proponents believe the use of BPA may also pose regulatory risk. The Connecticut legislature passed the first state law barring the manufacture, distribution or sale of thermal receipt paper containing BPA. More than 20 states and multiple federal bills have introduced legislation to ban or limit the use of BPA in food and beverage containers.
Currently, the EPA is engaged in an alternatives assessment for BPA in thermal receipt paper with the goal of helping to reduce environmental releases of and subsequent exposures to BPA.
Companies, including Yum! Brands, Whole Foods and Chipotle reportedly use BPA-free thermal receipt paper. And a 2010 report by the Environmental Working Group found Bank of America, Target and Starbucks were using BPA-free thermal receipt paper
RESOLVED: Shareholders request the Board of Directors publish a report by September 1, 2012, at reasonable cost and excluding confidential and proprietary information, on how the company is responding to the public policy challenges associated with BPA.
Supporting statement: We believe the report should include a summary of what the company is doing to maintain public trust on this issue, its role in adopting or encouraging development of safer alternatives to BPA in thermal receipt paper, and any risks to the company’s reputation created by the continued use of thermal receipt paper containing BPA.