The health hazards of bisphenol A are clearly proven, but scientists now report that the levels of the chemical – used to protect canned food from corrosion and bacteria – are surprisingly high in the canned goods found on our kitchen shelves.
To reach this conclusion, 50 different cans of food were collected from pantries in 19 states and Ontario and were analyzed at a top food safety lab in San Francisco. BPA was found in 92 percent of the samples according to a 24-page study called “No Silver Lining,” which was released today by the National Workgroup for Safe Markets.
The highest level of BPA was 1,140 parts per billion – believed to be the highest ever found in the U.S. It was detected in Del Monte French Style Green Beans from a pantry in Wisconsin, the report said.
Other high scorers included Wal-Mart’s Great Value Green Peas from a store in Kentucky, and Healthy Choice Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup from a pantry in Montana, said researchers from the coalition of more than 17 public and environmental health organizations .
“Our study details potential exposure to BPA from not just one can, but from meals prepared with canned food and drink that an ordinary person might consume over the course of a day,” Mike Schade, a co-author of the study told AOL News.
The unopened cans of fruits, vegetables, beans, soups, tomato products, sodas, and milk were sent to Anresco Laboratories. In order to determine the concentrations of BPA in the food within the can, only the food, not the packaging, was tested.
Hundreds of studies – by both government and academic researchers – have shown that exposure of animals to low doses of BPA has been linked to cancer, abnormal behavior, diabetes and heart disease, infertility, developmental and reproductive harm, obesity, and early puberty, a known risk factor for breast cancer. Also, BPA exposure is particularly of concern for pregnant women, for babies, and for children.
“It takes as little as one serving of canned foods to expose a person to levels of BPA that have been shown to cause harm in laboratory animals. This is especially troublesome if the person eating the canned foods is pregnant, because fetuses are especially vulnerable to BPA’s effects,” reports co-author Bobbi Chase Wilding, organizing director of Clean New York, told AOL News.
The researchers warned that in addition to the risk of BPA in canned food, people are also exposed to the chemical composite in common products like polycarbonate water and baby bottles, 5-gallon water coolers, and printer inks, toners and thermal receipt paper (used by most gas stations and supermarkets) where BPA can rub off paper onto hands and get into mouths.
What you pay for the food and where you buy it appears to have no impact on the presence of the contaminant. This study also shows that BPA levels in canned food cannot be predicted by the price of the product, the quality, or relative nutrition value of the product, or where it was purchased.
In related action, Sen. Dianne Feinstein today repeated her demand for a ban on BPA in food and beverage containers. The California Democrat wants the ban included in the Food Safety Modernization Act, a bill moving through the Senate that looks at important external food contaminants like E.coli and salmonella, but not at packaging additives like BPA.