Bisphenol A, or BPA, is an endocrine disrupting chemical used to make a hard clear plastic called polycarbonate, some sealants, and thermal paper such as the paper used to print cash register receipts.
Human exposure to BPA is widespread. According to a survey of the U.S. population, BPA was discovered in 93% of urine samples from people aged 6 and older.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Toxicology Program agree that recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and the endocrine system.
On the other hand, a recent report called “No Silver Lining,” from The National Work Group for Safe Markets, a coalition of public health and environmental health groups, confirmed earlier findings of BPA in canned goods — and in much larger quantities than previously detected.
The researchers tested BPA contamination of food from 50 cans collected from storerooms in 19 US states and one Canadian province and discovered it in 46 cans (92% samples). Detected levels of BPA ranged from below 1 parts per billion (ppb), to over a part per million, with an average of 77.36 ppb. The researchers warn that consuming BPA at that level for three meals a day every day could easily add up to levels associated with cancer and reproductive problems in lab studies.
If you are feeling uncomfortable about the facts, you aren’t alone. “I choose foods in glass jars or cardboard packs whenever possible,” says Gina Solomon, MD, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council who has testified before Congress about the need for better BPA regulation and chemical policy reform. “I’m also aware of trying to eat out less, since most of the food you get in restaurants came out of a can.”
Surely you can’t get rid of every canned good in your pantry, but at least try to avoid the ones on the list below.
Canned Foods With the Highest Levels of BPA (above 100 ppb):
– DelMonte French Style Green Beans: 296.2 ppb (store) and 1,140 ppb (pantry)
– Great Value (Walmart’s in-store brand) Sweet Peas: 329.3 ppb (store)
– Healthy Choice Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup: 323.6 ppb (pantry)
– Healthy Choice Old Fashioned Chicken with Rice Soup: 172.4 ppb (store)
– Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup: 130.4 ppb (pantry)
– Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup: 120.7 ppb (pantry) and 127.5 ppb (store)
If you want to learn more, you can download the full report here.