Do you recall the public outcry when we first learned that baby bottles and water bottles contained high levels of Bisphenol A? Also referred to as BPA, this chemical may be harmful to the male reproductive system and may also be implicated in stimulating breast cancer. Thanks to public pressure and media attention manufacturers largely eliminated the offending chemical from certain products.
But BPA is still present in the lining of most canned food we eat. Yes, whenever you open your favourite can of soup or prepare your tuna sandwich you are unwittingly consuming synthetic estrogens hidden in the lining of cans.
The National Workgroup for Safe Markets in their investigative study No Silver Lining found that
• 92% of the 50 cans tested had detectable levels of BPA.
• One can of green beans had 1,140 parts per billion of BPA—the highest amount of any
• A daily diet that included canned foods tested for this report could cause a pregnant
20-something woman to ingest levels of BPA shown to cause harm to fetal development
in animal studies.
• Alternative materials are available, with more under development.
Their recommendations include: "The solution must be sustainable, non-toxic packaging. We recommend
companies continue to identify and implement safer materials use, and that government bodies require this
action to ensure the public’s health is protected."
In the mean time what can you do to lessen the risk? Use glass, stainless steel or porcelain containers whenever possible and let manufacturers and goverments know that it's unacceptable to have BPA in the packaging of food.
For more information read the above study in greater detail or check out one of TPL's books on environmental health issues.