“Do you want to have access to baby food anymore?” - The Strange Battle Over BPA

With the recent news that members of the California Senate narrowly approved a proposal that would prohibit the use of a controversial toxic plastic additive from baby bottles, the issue over bisphenol A (BPA) has been getting a lot of attention. So much attention that according to scienceblogs.com a BPA Joint Trade Association Meeting on Communications Strategy was held on May 28 with the goal of developing a potential communications/media strategy around BPA.

Now, as someone who knows a little about marketing, I understand crisis communications planning and about developing PR strategy. But there is something to be said about not leaking your minutes from your meeting (or else you might need a crisis committee meeting on how to handle crisis committee meetings.)

Why do I say this?

Well, what is really interesting about this report is some of the specific tactics mentioned including this line that appears on it, "Attendees suggested using fear tactics (e.g. “Do you want to have access to baby food anymore?”) Which, to be honest, I am not completely sure how this tactic and this comment go together, unless they are talking about the BPA that is in formula containers.

Or there is this line in the report "The committee doubts social media outlets, such as Facebook or Twitter, will work for positive BPA outreach. The committee wants to focus on quality instead of quantity in disseminating messages (e.g. a young kid or pregnant mother providing a positive quote about BPA, a testimonial from an outside expert, providing positive video, advice from third party experts, and relevant messaging on the GMA website). "

Is this what it all comes down to now? Fear tactics and a young kid or pregnant spokesperson giving positive quotes about potential toxins? .... Seriously? Even though the FDA says BPA is safe at currently set levels there are scientists that accuse the FDA of using incomplete and unreliable data.

While I really would like the FDA to do as complete an analysis as possible, I am more concerned that there are group meetings being held where ideas like these are being developed, as opposed to facing the fact that companies may be selling a product that is harmful. It kind of reminds me of the current anti-smoking ads where they read old internal big tobacco documents. This will be an interesting story to keep an eye on to see what actually does come of these meetings and what tactics do make it to the public.


  1. We are trying to get folks to call Coca Cola and Del Monte to demand that they remove BPA from their packaging - wondering if you would spread the action to your network: The action is here: http://shar.es/om76