The toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is used to line most metal cans containing soup, soda, fruit and vegetables and more that you find in grocery stores across America. BPA is widespread in our food and beverage supply despite its links to a host of diseases including breast and prostate cancer, heart disease, lowered sperm counts and early puberty.
Only canned food manufacturer Eden Foods has said it uses an alternative to BPA to line its cans, with the exception of its canned tomatoes.
According to a post by Christopher Gavigan from Healthy Child Healthy World, Eden Foods spends about 2 cents more per can for BPA free cans. That fact led him to say this about the canning industry's opposition to removing BPA:
“Seriously? They're putting up this big of a fight over 2 cents a can?”
Two cents indeed.
The canning industry and users, including Coca-Cola, is choosing to fight BPA bans and befriend “people that are able to manipulate the legislative process” rather than use an alternative product to line cans.
But calls for safer cans get stronger by the day. It's driven in part by greater consumer awareness of the health problems associated with BPA exposure. Cans have become a target for concern as recent scientific studies show BPA is present in some cans at levels that have caused adverse health effects in animal studies.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a study of BPA in cans, which found the toxic chemical in over half of 97 cans of name-brand fruit, vegetables, soda, and other common canned goods.
Infant formula, chicken soup and ravioli had the highest levels of concern in the EWG study. How high were the levels? EWG reported “just one to three servings of foods with these concentrations could expose a woman or child to BPA at levels that caused serious adverse effects in animal tests.”
In the case of infant formula, EWG reported that for 1 in 3 cans of formula tested, a single serving contained enough BPA to expose a woman or infant to BPA levels more than 200 times the government's traditional safe level of exposure for industrial chemicals. Connecticut’s BPA ban, which recently became law, includes a prohibition on BPA in infant formula cans but no other state has passed legislation with similar protections (though the proposed federal BPA ban would prohibit the chemical in cans).
Concerned about cans? Learn more. Organic Grace queried a number of companies that sell food in cans to learn whether their cans contain BPA. Check out the responses here.