Many people tossed out their plastic water and baby bottles after concerns rose over Bisphenol A, a chemical used in the production of hard plastics, and its potential to cause reproductive abnormalities, breast and prostate cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Now there’s new cause for worry after a study found BPA in certain name-brand canned foods.
In its December issue, Consumer Reports tested soups, juice, tuna and green beans, and found that 19 name-brand foods contain some amount of BPA, which is used in the plastic lining in many canned foods. Some labels also declared their cans BPA-free, but this claim wasn’t always true either.
Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, is a component of epoxy resin and is used to preserve foods. With evidence showing BPA may lead to increased risks of health issues, and the mounting evidence showing more foods than once thought contain BPA, there is growing concerns as to what level of BPA consumption is safe
The FDA released a report in 2008 stating BPA in materials which came into contact with food was safe. However, there is new research which may result in some changes to their stance or at least in regards to the level of BPA that is safe to consume. Studies have produced evidence showing the negative effects of BPA levels lower than the current FDA standards. The studies have also shown that BPA may leech into products held in containers made with BPA, regardless of whether the container was heated. Plus, the substance seems to stay in a person’s system longer than once thought.
The Consumers Union, a non-profit organization, tested 19 name brand foods held in containers made of metal, paper, and plastic. The study found levels of BPA in nearly all canned goods they tested, including organic foods and even those labeled as BPA free. They found what they considered was high levels of BPA in Del Monte green beans, Progresso Vegetable Soup, and Campbell’s Chicken Soup.
The director of technical policy at Consumer Reports, Urvashi Ragan said their research has shown BPA isn’t only being found in containers products are packaged in, but also in the foods themselves.
While the FDA currently has established BPA levels below 50 micrograms for each kilogram of body weight to be safe, new guidelines are expected to be issued soon. Connecticut, Minnesota, Chicago, Suffolk County, New York, and Canada already no longer allow the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups made with BPA and there have been several stores removing products containing BPA from their shelves.
The Consumers Union recommends the following in order to reduce consumption of BPA: Choose fresh food whenever possible; consider alternatives to canned food, beverages, juices and infant formula; and use glass containers when heating food in the microwave.