Saturday, April 19, 2008

Poison, Again

Have you marketers noticed? Plastic is back in the barrel – it’s the awful, no-good-for-you-and-especially-your-babies ingredient that so common in everyday life it might as well be oxygen (which is also bad for you in certain concentrations).

The attention paid to the “evils of bisphenol A (BPA)” seems to have reached a sudden crescendo. Now, like saccharine, Alar and a host of other products, the media has started fear-mongering big-time. In fact the issue surfaced months ago and been tracked by bloggers, industry and government consistently.

What I haven’t seen is widespread witch-hunting of the plastics industry, a nice change from the days of the dreaded polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and their widespread contamination. It’s worth noting – at least for marketers – that plastics companies like Dow Chemical and Bayer are responding sensibly but cautiously.

I realize this makes me sound like an industry apologist (also again). However, the media makes a balanced and fair examination of the issue difficult. Remember that these BPA-related suspicions are founded only on experiments involving mice. A good deal of space has been dedicated to the warnings of Frederick vom Sall, who’s a biology prof at the University of Missouri and an anti-BPA advocate. According to the Houston Chronicle, vom Sall “…doesn’t eat or drink anything from a can and never heats food in plastic containers. He doesn’t use plastic silverware or drink from plastic cups, though he freezes food in some plastic containers. He doesn’t put plastic in the dishwasher, because the chemical escapes when heated.” This seems extreme to me.

Still, it’s so difficult to figure out what’s safe and what’s not safe in today’s world, common sense and intelligent marketing will go a long way. For example, my friends at Thermos have pushed up notice of their stainless steel bottles and jars.

You can also try the Kleen Kanteen sippy cup (shown above left) which has a certain style – also in steel. You can’t beat steel and think of the advantages of your prospective reduction in recyclables, as I noted in this January Signalwriter post.

1 comment:

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Well, of course you can beat steel in cost, reproducibility and so on. The number of "safe" options is likely to be countless if you include handmade ceramic drinking vessels, etc.

I was simply trying to make a dramatic point.