When the public health community first started talking about the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA), nearly 10 years ago, no one knew what we were talking about. Now finding safer plastic is easy, bringing glass food storage containers to work is normal and the public increasingly understands that harmful ingredients are legally allowed in everyday consumer products.
But a new report released today found that although there has been much progress on phasing out BPA from plastic products, the exposure to American families through canned food is still a major health concern.
What is BPA?
BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that is used to make a variety of consumer materials including hard plastic and epoxy resins used to line food cans. Leading researchers and scientists have found this chemical to disrupt our natural hormone system, even at very low doses. Scientific literature has found links to various harmful health endpoints including: breast and prostate cancer, insulin resistance, hormone-disruption, weight gain and behavioral problems.
Major canned food brands test positive for BPA
A new report released by the Mind the Store campaign and allied organizations found that BPA is still used as a common lining for canned food. Over two-thirds of the cans tested positive for BPA epoxy resins. The chemical is highly functional and helps keep our food from spoiling, but unfortunately, the chemical leaches into the contents of the can and contaminates our food.
Second, the report found that many of the alternatives used in non-BPA linings use equally toxic materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is made with toxic chemicals such as vinyl chloride, a known human carcinogen.
Does limiting my exposure to BPA matter?
Yes! A study conducted by the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute found that when families removed canned and packaged food from their diet, the levels of BPA in their bodies dropped by 60% in just three short days. This shows that our daily choices can have a major impact on our health!
To protect your health, simply follow these guidelines:
- Buy fresh produce and frozen vegetables when possible
- Avoid canned gravy, milk (coconut & condensed) and broth – these had the highest levels of BPA
- Choose food products stored in tetra packs like Pomi tomatoes (affiliate link)
- Choose glass jars for food storage: Ball Canning jars made after 2011 are free of BPA
- Check out my Guide to Avoid Toxic Food Packaging
- Take action and tell Kroger and Campbell’s to remove (and safely substitute) BPA
For a summary and overview of the report findings check out this great infographic by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.
Please explain “ball canning jars made after 2011 are BPA free” Do you mean that before that date the lids had BPA in them?
Suzanna, Yes that is correct. Ball canning jars made before 2011 used BPA in the lining.