Dear EarthTalk: I am a retailer and have had customers ask whether the plastic bags in wine boxes are BPA free or not. What can I tell them?

Author:Tod, Chris
Position:Bisphenol-A
 
FREE EXCERPT

The short answer is: "It depends." A fairly recent innovation in wine packaging, the so-called Bag-in-Box (BIB) dispenser makes use of a plastic bag with a nozzle surrounded by a corrugated cardboard box. The whole package sits easily on a shelf and usually features a built-in spout for easy pouring and resealing. The main benefit is that each box can hold about four bottles-worth of wine, and the BIB technology prevents oxidation, keeping the wine fresh for up to six weeks after the seal has been broken initially.

Besides costing less to manufacture than glass bottles, the Bag-in-Box apparatus, invented by Scholle packaging a half century ago, weighs significantly less, stacks more efficiently (meaning more wine can go with each container load) and will not shatter if dropped. As such, they are easier to transport, which keeps costs down and reduces the carbon footprint of the entire distribution process. While U.S. wine buyers traditionally have viewed wine in a box as cheap and unsavory, several American and European wineries are working to turn that view around by putting out award-winning vintages by the box. Eco-conscious yet no less discriminating wine consumers are helping to drive the growing demand for boxed wines in the U.S., which currently command about 10 percent of U.S. supermarket wine sales.

But boxed wine may have an environmental dark side: Some of the plastic bags inside the boxes contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic chemical that has been in use for four decades to strengthen plastic food containers and other items but recently has been linked to a range of human health problems. "A growing amount of scientific research has linked BPA exposure to altered development of the brain and behavioral changes, a predisposition to prostate and breast cancer, reproductive harm, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease,"...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP