Posted: 20 May 2010 04:23 AM PDT
BPA (Bisphenol-A) is dangerous, especially to pregnant women, and intake of canned food during gestation should be limited. This is the main conclusion of a recent study on the chemical compound that is used to line the inside of cans and bottles.
From USA Today:
Researchers found that BPA levels vary dramatically even between cans of the same product, according to the study, released Tuesday by the National Workgroup for Safe Markets, a coalition of 19 environmental groups. For example, one can of Del Monte French Style Green Beans had 36 micrograms of BPA per serving, while another can of the same product had 138 micrograms per serving — a level that has been linked to changes in prostate cells and increased aggression in animals.
The National Toxicology Program has said it has "some concern" that BPA alters development of the brain, behavior and the prostate gland in children, before and after birth. Read more…
BPA is a chemical compound used as a building block of polymers and polycarbonates that are found in plastic bottles and cans. 7 billion pounds of BPA are produced annually, for use in food packaging, PVC water pipes, electronics, and more. It behaves like the hormone estrogen once it enters the body and disturbs the normal working of certain genes. Estrogen mimicking chemicals like BPA are potentially harmful even at very low doses, such as those found in plastic bottles and cans.
Congress has been asked to ban BPA, but industry lobbying efforts from the Grocery Manufacturer's Association and other groups is staving off any federal plan. Meanwhile several states and municipalities have put into law limitations on use of BPA for certain children's products.
What to do at the supermarket:
BPA does not appear as an ingredient on a food label. But at 92%, you can assume any canned food product you are holding contains it. Some canned food manufacturers, such as Eden and Muir Glen, have decided to get rid of BPA, but the majority still use it.
Thankfully, there are alternatives to canned food. If fresh fruit and veggies are in season, you can get them cheap. If not, check the freezers for bags of frozen vegetables. And some canned products, like soups, are so easy to make from scratch that you should not bother to buy out of a can. Not to mention the high sodium levels, or the industrial flavor.
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