Saturday, April 5, 2008

BPA in Canned Foods

I am not really a "doomsday" or "conspiracy" kind of thinker, but I have wondered for a long time if there might be a connection between eating canned foods and cancer. Canned food was first massed produced in the US in 1812. In those days cans were made from wrought iron. Canned food became more popular after World War I, when companies who has produced tin cans of food for the army began to market to civilian consumers.
Today cans are made from tin-coated steel. Apparently, the inside of the can is often coated with Bisphenol A plastic.
The probability of an American being diagnosed with cancer has dramatically risen in recent history. Personally, every funeral I have ever been to in my life has been for a cancer victim. It is thought-provoking to note that cancer rates have been increasing in the years when America changed from a rural society to an urban society, which necessitated an increase in consumption of canned foods, since fresh foods were no longer so easily available.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in DEVELOPED countries (like the US, Canada, England, etc.) the probability of being diagnosed with cancer is TWICE as high as in developing countries! Cancer has been known as a "western" disease. Of course dozens of factors come in to play for that statistic. But it really makes one wonder exactly what we do differently in our more modern lifestyles that is so harmful to our bodies.

This is an excerpt about BPA in canned foods from an article on Medicine Net:

The Environmental Working Group reported the results of a study in which a national analytical laboratory tested 97 cans of food for BPA. The cans were purchased at supermarkets in Atlanta; Oakland, Calif.; and Clinton, Conn.

The study found that:

  • Cans of chicken soup, infant formula, and ravioli had the highest BPA levels.
  • 1 in 3 cans of infant formula had BPA levels "200 times the government's traditional safe level of exposure for industrial chemicals."
  • Overall, 1 in 10 cans tested had high levels of BPA.
  • Beverage cans have fewer BPA residues; canned pasta and canned soups have the highest levels.

Take Action:

Tips from The Green Guide for avoiding BPA contaminates:
  • Choose soups, milk and soy milk packaged in cardboard "brick" cartons, by Tetra Pak and SIG Combibloc, which are made of safer layers of aluminum and polyethylene (#2) and also recyclable.
  • Choose canned foods from makers who don't use BPA, such as Eden Foods (, which sells certified organic canned beans and other foods.
  • Eat fresh foods in season and save the canned foods for convenience or emergencies. The exception is some canned fruit such as that found in smaller fruit-cocktail cans, which do not require a liner, according to the Can Manufacturers Institute.
  • Buy or can your own fruits and vegetables in safe glass jars. For more, see Amy's Green Kitchen "In a Summer Pickle".
  • Some wines have been found to contain up to six times the BPA of canned foods. While most wines probably don't, it's another good reason to drink in moderation.

Recommendations from

• Never microwave foods in plastic containers. Heating plastics greatly increases the potential for leaching of chemicals into your food.
• Avoid drinking beverages out of plastic containers. This includes bottled water, juice drinks, and others. Drink out of glass or stainless steel.
• Greatly reduce or eliminate your consumption of canned food products. Canned foods typically contain BPA due to the lining inside the can.
• Avoid storing food in plastic containers. Instead, choose Pyrex or glass containers (stainless steel is also acceptable). Also avoid using plastic sandwich bags or plastic wrap products, wherever possible.
• Remember that if you are pregnant or nursing, BPA chemicals are passed through your bloodstream directly to your baby.

Also see this entry at Z Recommends to view a report by The Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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