BPA, short for bisphenol A, is used to make certain plastics and epoxy resins. Articles on the health concerns associated to BPA are far from scarce, and it continues to be studied on the true effects it has on humans, but there is legitimate concern. It can be found in numerous items such as toys, sports equipment, industrial products, even in store receipts (who knew?.. and a lot of it!)…. and it is still found in the lining of many food cans… INCLUDING, shocking to me, almost all aluminum cans… you will need to skip your soda today ;).
I tend to stay away from canned foods since I am not always sure which do and do not have it. No longer…. Thanks to a fantastic list put together by InspirationGreen.com, below is a well-compiled list of cans that DO and DO NOT have BPA (updated Jan 2013), as well as some additional information on recent studies associated with BPA from their article:
- Eden Foods: All 33 of its organic beans, chili, rice & beans, refried, and flavored.
- Trader Joe’s Brand: Canned corn, tomatoes, beans (except baked beans), tunafish, anchovies, poultry, beef, coconut milk, fruit (except mandarins) and vegetables (except artichokes).
- Hunt’s Tomato Products: Only their plain tomatoes – but great first step!!!
- Whole Foods: 27% of its store-brand canned goods. No specifics given!*
- Amy’s: As of March, 2012 all products in non-bpa cans. Look for: NB, for Non-BPA on the bottom of each can.
- Bionaturae: Canned tomatoes.
- Campbell’s Soups: Announced March, 2012 that it will be phasing out BPA from its cans! They have yet to make clear when that will begin, or what they plan to use instead of BPA.
- Crowne Prince Natural: Tuna, Salmon, Kippers.
- Muir Glen: Canned tomato products only.
- Native Factor: Coconut Water.
- Native Forest: Organic coconut milk, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, hearts of palm and all of their canned fruits.
- Ocean Brands: Salmon, tuna, oyster, crab, snackit, snack n lunch and fish salads. (Not the shrimp, clams and food service size.)
- Oregon’s Choice: Canned Tuna.
- Vital Choice: Canned salmon, albacore tuna, sardines and mackerel.
- Wild Planet: Canned Sardines and 5 oz tuna.
- Ecofish (Henry & Lisa’s): Canned Tuna.
- Nature’s One: Organic powdered baby milks.
- Tetra-pak (aseptic containers) are lined with Polyethylene, not BPA. ‘Pomi‘ Brand and Hunt’s Chopped tomatoes in tetra-paks are becoming more widely available.
- Eden Foods: Canned tomato products (look for their new – glass jars)
- Trader Joe’s Brand: All soups, chilis and stews. Plus; Sardines, Crab, Cherrystone Clams & Oysters, Mandarins, Hatch Chilies, Artichokes, Organic Baked Beans.
- Whole Foods: 73% of its store-brand canned goods.
- Ocean Brands: Shrimp, clams and 4lb food service size.
- Annie’s, Brad’s, Muir Glen, Westbrae cans are lined with BPA.
- ALL food cans out there other than those listed above…
- Most all Aluminum Cans are lined with BPA.
- Polycarbonate plastic (grouped in #7) contains BPA and BPAF (worse!).
- Many shiny thermal receipts contain BPA.
- (ATM receipts, cash register receipts, prescription labels, lottery/airline tickets, etc)
- Don’t hand children receipts that might contain BPA!
- Don’t recycle receipts that might contain BPA!
Since 1999 Eden Foods has used steel cans coated with a ‘baked-on oleoresinous c-enamel’, which does not contain BPA. Oleoresin is a non-toxic mixture of oil and resin extracted from plants, such as pine or balsam fir.’(1) The cost is currently 2.2 cents more (14%) than cans with industry-standard BPA epoxy liners. Yet that natural liner is not approved by the FDA for acid foods, such as tomatoes. Hopefully in the very near future, alternative liners will be put on the market as more research is completed. But as of now, be aware that canned tomatoes, soups and pastas are your highest sources of BPA due to their acid consuming the lining of the can.
The Environmental Working Group estimates that BPA exposure is ‘unsafe’ in 11 percent of all canned food and an unbelievable one-third of all infant formula.(2) When BPA was detected, the EWG found a single serving contained enough BPA to expose a woman or infant to levels more than 200 times the government’s safe level of exposure for industrial chemicals. In the 2010 study, ‘No Silver Lining’, food from 50 cans collected from 19 US states and Ontario, Canada were tested for BPA contamination. Over 90% of the cans tested had detectable levels of BPA, and some at much higher levels than had been detected previously.(3) The study’s tests show that meals involving one or more cans of food can “cause a pregnant woman to ingest levels of BPA that have been shown to cause health effects in developing fetuses in laboratory animal studies.”(3) Consumer Reports’ latest tests of canned foods found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods they tested contain some BPA. “A 165-pound adult eating one serving of canned green beans from their sample, could ingest about 0.2 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight per day, about 80 times higher than the experts’ recommended daily upper limit.”(4)
The Breast Cancer Fund recently released a product testing report called “BPA in Thanksgiving Canned Food.” For the study canned goods were purchased in California, Massachusetts, New York and Minnesota. Four cans of each of the common Thanksgiving staples: Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, Campbell’s Turkey Gravy, Carnation Evaporated Milk (by Nestle), Del Monte Fresh Cut Sweet Corn (Cream Style), Green Giant Cut Green Beans (by General Mills), Libby’s Pumpkin (by Nestle) and Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce were purchased. The results showed a tremendous variability in BPA levels in the canned foods tested, from non-detectable to 221 parts per billion. Variabily was extreme even among cans of the same product made by the same company, which means that consumers have no way of knowing how much BPA is in the canned food they’re buying and consuming. www.breastcancerfund.org
A 2011 study by Harvard University analysized the urine of seventy-five people for BPA. Each participant ate a 12-ounce serving of either fresh or canned soup for five days in a row. They were advised not to otherwise alter their regular eating habits. After a two-day break, the groups switched and ate the opposite type of soup. The study showed the canned soup eaters had 1,221 per cent higher levels of BPA in their urine than those who ate the fresh soup.5 Of other concern, a 2012 study out of New York, the first study of its kind to test for BPS, found 81% of the urine samples tested contained BPS (Bisphenol S)* in quantities just slightly below those of BPA.6
An August, 2012 study out of the University of Virginia, shows that low dose BPA is associated with decreased social activity in mice for up to four generations!7 And in September, 2012 a Washington State University researcher and colleagues have found that BPA disrupts female rhesus monkey’s reproductive systems, causing chromosome damage, miscarriages and birth defects. Again the research shows the effects to be generational. Patricia Hunt, the head researcher states that; “the really stunning thing about the effect is we’re dosing grandma, it’s crossing the placenta and hitting her developing eggs, and if that fetus is a female, it’s changing the likelihood that that female is going to ovulate normal eggs. It’s a three-for-one hit.” The rhesus’ reproductive system are most human-like of any mammal and were tested with BPA levels similar to those in humans.8
My advice would be to find some wonderful food products packaged in glass, or even better, no packaging at all.