Responding to growing health concerns, supermarket giant Kroger Co. has pledged to stop using the chemical BPA in the linings of food cans “as quickly as possible.”

BPA, short for Bisphenol A, is a compound often used in plastics and in other food and beverage containers. It has been linked to health problems ranging from breast and prostate cancer to infertility and obesity.

Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey told the Columbus Post-Dispatch that the company will remove the chemical from cans of its store-brand foods even though there “is no conclusive scientific evidence that minimal exposure to BPA in can linings poses any risks to consumers.”

Cincinnati-based Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, also will remove BPA from the paper on which it prints receipts. An environmental group last year found BPA on 40 percent of the receipts it collected from supermarkets, automated teller machines, gas stations and chain stores. In some cases, the  amount of BPA on a receipt was 1,000 times greater than the amount typically found in the lining of food cans.

Coca-Cola Co. shareholders last month rejected a resolution to pressure the world’s largest beverage company to stop using BPA. The company’s chief executive said he had no doubt “about the safety of our packaging.”

Grocery-store analyst David J. Livingston said Kroger’s move could encourage other retailers to take a second look at BPA. “This stuff could be perfectly safe, but if the customers think it’s not, then Kroger is making this move to keep them happy,” he observed.

At least 20 states have banned or are considering banning BPA in certain instances.

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