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It’s in the Can

Posted by bmagnus On May - 21 - 2010

A new report on how much BPA is in canned foods is now available from the National Workgroup for Safe Markets. As you may recall, Bisphenol A, or BPA for short, is a chemical used to make clear plastics and line metal pipes or cans. Research has shown that it can disrupt our hormones. As a result, it has been implicated in a variety of maladies from some cancers to heart disease to obesity.

NWFM conducted their study by pulling the same canned foods out of pantries and off grocery store shelves that many people would buy: canned vegetables, beans, and soups. An amazing 92% of the samples contained BPA. They found that on average, each can of food had an average of 77 parts per billion of BPA. This even included foods labeled “healthy” or “organic”. It didn’t matter if the can was fresh or nearing its expiration date. The really startling part is that in 1996, FDA testing only found 16 parts per billion of BPA!

So despite our best efforts, we are getting more of this potentially harmful compound, not less.

So what can we do about it? We can choose fresh or frozen vegetables over canned, and other foods in glass jars or aseptic packaging (boxes). However, part of the popularity of canned foods is that they are convenient and shelf stable. Few people are willing to spend the time it takes to cook dried beans, and canned foods are great to keep on hand for emergencies or camping trips when we may not have electricity.

Thankfully, there is pressure on manufacturers to cut or eliminate BPA from their products from consumers, retailers, and even shareholders. Hopefully the next report on BPA contamination will show falling levels.

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