BPA Is Not Just in Plastics

By , SparkPeople Blogger
For nearly two years we have heard about the dangers and potential health risks of plastic bottles due to a chemical known as bisphenol A or BPA. In response to concerns regarding water bottles, baby bottles and plastic storage containers, plastic guides for smart and safe usage began to pop up to help consumers make healthy lifestyle changes to reduce BPA exposure and risk.

Now that many of us have made positive changes in plastic use, a new study reveals that over 90 percent of canned foods tested were positive for the detection of BPA. So, now what are you to do?

BPA has been used in metal-based food and beverage cans and plastics since the 1960's. While studies find that BPA is present in canned foods and plastics across the U.S. and Canada, awareness has created positive steps of change as well. Canada, Denmark, some U.S. states, and cities have restricted BPA use in baby bottles and the lining of canned baby formula. At the beginning of this year, the U.S. EPA and Department of Health and Human Services began taking a closer look at BPA and safer product alternatives. In March, Canada began restricting the import of baby bottles containing BPA and several European countries have also limited products containing BPA for young children as well.

While you will most likely not be able to eliminate BPA exposure entirely, you can take steps to reduce dietary exposure from metal cans. Here are some things to keep in mind as your plan and prepare meals for your family.

  • Limit Canned Goods When Possible - One of the best ways to reduce your BPA risk is to reduce use of canned foods in general in favor of fresh, dried or frozen options. If you can select local organic produce like green beans, corn, or peas from a local farmer, terrific. Blanch and flash freeze them and stock your freezer so you will have a nutrient rich, cost effective and BPA free supply all year long. If that isn't possible, select dried beans or frozen vegetables instead of canned. If you must purchase canned foods, use resources to help you locate those that are BPA-free.

  • Select Alternative Packaging - As more and more is learned about BPA and packaging, new alternatives are showing up on store shelves for many canned foods, beverages, juices and infant formulas. Some manufactures are also using BPA-free linings instead of the BPA-based epoxy adhesive cans that have been problematic. When possible, select glass jars or aseptic packaging made of paperboard, low-density polyethylene, and aluminum foil (it is important to note that recycling of this packaging is not widely available).
Did you know BPA was in canned foods, beverages and juices? Are you concerned about the health risks for you and your family?

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Good news, Bad news.

Good news....Most companies have stopped using BPA.

Bad news...... Now they are using BPS.

Try a search using BPA / BPS Report
Since this, (Sparkpeople), is such a huge community, perhaps we can all write or e-mail the major canned goods companies to seek alternative ways to can these foods. What do you think? Report
I had no clue, or I guess I never took the time to think about the lining in cans. I try to use fresh and frozen, but I like to keep some canned goods in just in case we can't get to the store because of bad weather. I think I'll be trying my hand at canning to put up some things for the winter. Thank you for the information. You really help keep us notified of anything that could affect our health. Report
Yes, I knew BPA was present in cans, too. No, I don't buy much canned stuff at all - maybe a couple of cans of tuna every six months or so. I mostly buy fresh produce and meats, a fair amount of frozen veggies, and very occasionally some processed or canned items. Well, okay, apart from potato chips - I guess those ARE processed. :)
I didn't know about the cans. I only buy a few canned items but now that I know about this I'll just buy them fresh. Report
Most Eden Organics and Trader Joes canned goods don't have BPA in them. Except tomatoes, a canned product I use a lot of. Evidently tomatoes are too acidic for them to be able to can them without the BPA linings; the acid would corrode the metal. Anyone know of a company that sells plain diced tomatoes in glass bottles?! Report
I did not know about it being in cans! I love my baked beans! I will be more cautious when buying and try for the glass containers as much as possible! Report
It's good to have info like this to be able to make wise decisions, but, as some have pointed out, it's also good to not get panicky & into fear-mongering right away. It's important to do as much research from different sources as possible, but don't become obsessed with all the stuff that COULD cause problems. Yes, I do know that some people are certainly a lot more sensitive & affected by certain things like different chemicals, but most people are fine enough.

I'm taking the info in this article & thinking carefully & considering my options. I already buy fresh & local as much as I possibly can because it's healthier overall, especially since I know how many of the local farmers are with their produce, but sometimes having canned goods is a lot easier, especially if certain things in recipes aren't found locally or fresh. Another option I make use of is frozen, & I've taken to buying more of different produce & freezing when it's at its local peak & using it at different times of the year. That way I know that what I'm using & what I'm consuming, & that's made a HUGE difference in my diet & lifestyle. :) Report
Interesting article, but avoiding canned foods might not be feasible. I try to avoid processed foods like spaghetti sauce because of the added sugars, etc. But that means I have to used canned tomatoes to make my own sauce - I don't have a garden because I live in the desert southwest. So - which is the lesser of two evils?

Also, I'd like to know if any testing has been done on alternative packaging, like the new pouches that have replaced many canned foods. There's no guarantee that this packaging method is any safer than cans, nor are they recyclable.

It's ironic that going back to glass seems to be healthier & more environmentally friendly, but then again, many glass jars have a metal lid with some kind of plastic coating - is that BPA also? Report
Didn't know about BPA being in canned and other products, will keep that in mind, thanks! Report
I love this article! There is one company that uses BPA free cans and I believe that it is Eden Organics. They can be costly but if you don't use them often it might be a smart choice. Happy Health to everyone! Report
Just wonderful. We stock up on can goods when ever they're on sale. Well I guess that just means our garden will grow or there will trips to the farmers market & we will be buying that bigger freezer. But not until we use what we have in cans. Just great.
how much does the FDA government sources and others know but will not reveal to the general public? Who does the testing, Is it the manufacturer and if so,the tests would not reveal the poisins in any product. And should anything detramental be revealed, what agency,if any, would change it. Report
Ok, I read this last night and I've been thinking about it today. What about catsup in plastic bottles and mustard and milk and even frozen veggies in plastic bags, and brown sugar and juice in plastic bottles and frozen orange juice in plastic containers, margerine or similarites in plastic containers, yogurt, mayo, salad dressings, coffee creamer, spices, vegetable oil, coffee, ok enough. Are all these things to be off limits? Report
I've heard of BPA being in cans and it has affected how I shop for food Report
i did not know this. we buy canned beans and tomatoes. sheesh. the tomatoes i can probably figure out, but i have yet to be able to cook my own beans without them being undercooked... Report
I love this article!! I have been staying away from canned fruits & veggies because of the tinny taste!! Now I know why!!! Report
Who would have thought about canned veggies. I like to use fresh or fresh frozen veggies. Report
one word for you "gross"... Report
I never realized that BPA was found in canned food. I usually prefer to use fresh or frozen vegetables. I also don't like the "tinny" taste that I usually get from from canned fruits. Thanks to this article, I am really going to do my best to "weed out" canned fruits and vegetables from our daiily meals !!! Report
Yes, I knew that BPA was in canned foods. I read articles about this on the internet. Anything acidic, like tomatos absorbs more of the BPA. I think I even heard that it is in soda cans? I never thought of juices though, unless it is in a can. I do worry about the affects on my family. There are so many health problems being caused by the use of chemicals in the food industry. Even some mental/psycological problems are possibly caused by the chemicals. Too bad I can't afford to buy everything in the form I would like it to be. Unfortunately, I can't be too picky right now, but I try where I can to make the better choices. Report
I did not know that BPA was found in canned food. I keep a 3 month supply of canned food rations at all times for emergencies. I eat fresh and frozen when I can. I think it is overated: If BPA has been in use since the 60's then everyone born since then would be dead myself included. I can understand for babies because they don't have the ability to fight things off and get rid of toxins. Adults have or should have a stable immune system and the right enzymes to get rid of toxins. I would definitly be more cautious if your a cancer survivor or been diagnosed with cancer or other diseases in which the immune system is or has been compromised. Most of these studies have been done in rodents which are no where near the human DNA chain. But again it is a personal choice. Report
Chemophobia at its worst. It's far too easy to do bad science and this doesn't appear to be a rigorous study.

has more information from a reputable source about the current debate on bisphenol A.

While I am a big fan of fresh and local is better, the "natural" compounds used by organic farmers aren't neccesarily any better for you than the commercial pesticides used by the commercial farms. Report
great article i never realized that can goods also contained bpa. thank God i only use them on rare occasions, am going to attempt to reduce their use completely Thank you for this blog!! Report
I've seen the liners in tomatoes but that's it. Report
Excuse my ignorance, but what are the harmful effects of BPA? Also, I am in the same age range as at least one other blogger (50 something), and haven't had many health issues so far...so why worry about BPA now? Report
what does BPA do to you ? Report
I have been using metal, plastic, glass options for all my 58 years of life. I use much less now since I have been eating healthier (cutting sodium,etc), but have no plans to discontinue because I am afraid of the bpa. My thoughts most everything is ok in moderation - although I do try to eliminate waste (plastics, cans, glass, etc). Report
I always think it is good to have more information, but I've pretty much had it with trying to eliminate everything that is supposed to be bad. It is impossible to eliminate all risk from your life. I have to weigh the convenience versus the small risk to my health. If I were pregnant or had small children, I might be more concerned, and would take more steps to eliminate BPA, but for myself, I'm not that worried.
I keep canned goods in the house mainly for use during hurricane season. (Think Katrina!) But I do prefer the frozen or fresh produce, depending on the fruit or veggie and availability. However, down here on the Gulf Coast, we tend to eat through our freezers in the summer just in case of a hurricane and power outages. That's better than losing a freezerful of food. Too many of us had that happen. Report
Thanks for the great info. This is just one more reason I will be doing a lot of canning this summer! Report
BPA has been used for over 50 years. It has never harmed anyone, and it never will. This is just a lot of overblown chemophobia promoted by anti-chemical activists who do not understand the facts. NOTHING is completely risk-free - you can die from too much water! Should we BAN water? Report
I have become so frustrated with stories that generate fear without resolution that I tend to avoid commenting on them most days. I don't believe that farmer's markets produce is any safer because it is unknown what chemicals the grpwers are using on their produce. Farmer's Martkets are not regulated industry and no one checks their opperations for unhealthy "traces." I am not concerned about the reported health risks. It has been proven that rodent traps can, and have, killed rats in lab tests; therefore, all rodent traps should be banned as potentially deadly to humans. Sound silly? Think about it. Report
So BPA is present in all those soda and beer cans, too? It's a shame that this is the case. I don't think I use many cans. I occasionally use a can of beans. I occasionally use a can of soup. I use one can of concentrated juice to make for my kids each week. I probably use tomato puree from a can once a week. How much exposure is too much? Report
Interesting but I wonder just exactly how long it has been used in cans. I also think back to when my mom used to save glass jars for re-use because she noticed that glass was being replaced more and more with cans and plastics. I wonder if we'll start seeing more in glass again. Report
Thanks for that link with the information about which companies do and don't use BPA! Report
Not news to me, and no - I'm not overly concerned since we eat practically no canned food. I did want to follow up on the comment by a member who started buying canned items for SP recipes - we're all in a different place on our journey toward health, and buying canned corn may be a step in the right direction for someone who is used to eating corn chips - if you weren't buying canned food before, you probably can figure out a way to make the recipe even healthier by substituting whole, close to the source ingredients for the canned stuff.... This is just another wake up call: learn how to cook. Yes, you can cook; yes, real food from whole, close to the source ingredients; and yes, even if you work full time and have kids - our mothers did and plenty of women around the world do still! Report
I try to stay away from canned foods mostly because the sodium content is higher than fresh and frozen. This artical is another reason for me to stick with fewer canned products. Report
Not only is BPA found in plastics and can linings, but it's also found in dental sealants (think white cavity fillings). BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical that behaves as an estrogen. It's been linked to several cancers and other diseases. BPA was originally created as a birth control which ended up being an excellent plasticizer. It's scary stuff. Studies are now being conducted to determine the effects of long-term low dose exposure (like we get everyday). My research group has preliminarily findings that this type of exposure causes uterine fibroids to grow faster and that their gene expression changes. Try to limit exposure as much as you can. This chemical is so prevalent in so many everyday items that you cannot eliminate exposure, but the more you try to limit your exposure, the better. Report
I think Sschultz had it right! And we all seem to forget that NO ONE is going to live forever.
A good bit of common sense would take us further than we are now. Report
This is more scare mongering ask yourself why people are living longer and healthier lives because food and nutrition is better the only thing to worry about is over indulgence. Report
Thanks for sharing this info. Helps us stay informed and make better choices. Report
I have been reading about this for some time now and try to use glass containers as much as possible.. 60 Minutes did a nice piece on this and I think more people need to be aware. Report
Yikes! I didn't know about this one. It's scary that there are so many harmful things we don't know about, and new ones pop up more and more frequently.Even if you eat fresh, you have to worry about the pesticides. I guess we have to work at educating ourselves and just do the best we can. Report
This is good information to know. Wish the media would give us the whole story. Report
I had no idea. This is distressing. Report
I had no idea. Thanks for the information! Report
I had no idea. It seems like almost all of our food supply has some unhealthy components. I do my best to reduce what I can and balance. I have a mindset that if I would focus on every detail, I would literally go "crazy". Report
My daughter is working on her Cell Development PhD in Chicago. She's convinced me that this is a very serious issue and she avoids BPA totally. I found out a few months ago that Eden brand canned goods is the only brand able to produce BPA-free linings to the cans - even tomato products which is the most difficult. So the technology exists to solve this problem but mainstream brands dont want to spend the money...so I'll buy Eden when I have to use canned tomatoes and other such products that rarely come in anything but cans. Report