BPA or bisphenol-A is the bad boy of the plastics industry. The chemical, commonly found in plastics, is an endocrine disrupter that has been linked to cancer, infertility and obesity. We've known for some time that BPA is found in other products besides plastics, such as canned foods and dental fillings. But until recently, I don't think many folks realized just how prevalent BPA was in canned foods.
A report released Tuesday by the National Workgroup for Safe Markets (a national coalition of more than 17 public health and environmental health groups) tested 50 brand-name foods and found contamination in almost all of them. The study, called "No Silver Lining," tested brand-name canned items, including fish, fruits, vegetables, soups, and sodas, and found BPA in the food in 92 percent of the cans tested—46 out of 50 cans. BPA levels in some cans were higher than what the FDA allows.
The top level of BPA was 1,140 parts per billion—believed to be the highest level ever found in the United States. It was detected in Del Monte French Style Green Beans from a pantry in Wisconsin, the report said. Other high scorers included Walmart's Great Value Green Peas from a store in Kentucky, and Healthy Choice Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup from a pantry in Montana.
The report showed that BPA exposure from one canned food on your dinner menu is worrisome enough, but add several canned foods and drinks together and you may be exposing your family to truly dangerous levels of this hormone-disrupting chemical.
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. So it doesn't matter if you're buying name-brand or generic, BPA is still in the can and in your food.
You're best bet? Stick with fresh or frozen foods or foods packaged in glass containers.
Jenn Savedge blogs about raising eco-friendly kids for the Mother Nature Network.