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Want to reduce BPA exposure? Cut canned foods from your diet, report says

Cannedfoods Exposure to the chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, through canned foods and other food packaging can be significantly reduced with simple dietary changes, according to a report released Wednesday by the nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund and the Silent Spring Institute, a breast cancer research group.

BPA is a chemical that is often used in clear, shatterproof plastics, such as baby bottles and food-storage containers, as well as the liners of metal food cans. Studies have shown BPA can leach from plastic and cans into food. 

Dozens of laboratory studies have also linked BPA exposure to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty in girls, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 93% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies.

The "Food Packaging and Bisphenol A" study tracked five Bay Area families for eight days in January 2010, collecting urine samples from family members after each individual ate normally. Participating families each had four members: an adult male, an adult female and two children between the ages of 3 and 11. Each family regularly ate meals prepared outside the home, including canned foods, canned sodas and frozen dinners; they also microwaved foods in plastic. 

For the study, the families then switched to a modified diet of fresh organic meals and snacks for three days. Prepared and delivered by a caterer that avoided using foods packaged in plastic or cans, the meals were stored in glass and stainless steel containers. Urine samples were collected during the families' diet change and after they went back to eating as normal. Urinary BPA levels decreased by more than 60% on average within three days of switching to a diet with minimal canned foods or plastic food packaging, the study found.

"One of the main sources of BPA is believed to be food packaging, but there weren't any studies that had actually looked at having people eat a normal diet and then stop eating foods that had been wrapped in BPA-containing products," said Janet Gray, Ph.D., director of the Program in Science, Technology and Society at Vassar College and science advisor to the Breast Cancer Fund. Gray co-authored "Food Packaging and Bisphenol A," a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. 

"We wanted to be able to ask the question: Could we have fairly simple changes in people's lives, both adults and children, that would alter their exposure and body burden of BPA?" Gray said.

Switching to fresh foods decreased BPA levels very quickly.

"That's one of the most important findings of this study."


 California Assembly passes bill banning BPA in baby bottles

Dollar bills and store receipts tainted with Bisphenol A

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Breast Cancer Fund

Comments () | Archives (17)

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Very good idea. In this way we avoid that youth and adolescents aware that taking drugs - hydrocodone, lortab and percocet - are not suitable too but that is used to cure diseases.

Ellen.. it's called a seafood market.

FRESH tuna costs LESS per ounce than canned. (unless you eat that cheap cat-food grade tuna)

If you poach a small tuna steak in vegetable broth, you can refrigerate it and break off what you need and mix it like canned.. and it tastes SO much richer. Sardines are a bit more tricky to find, but there ARE producers that sell in small, wide-mouth jars.

Is there a way to get tuna in a jar? How about sardines?

Oh my, the public is s-l-o-w to pick up on things like this.

It's hardly news to those of us that take a pro-active approach to rooting out environmental toxins in our homes and diet.

We haven't bought anything canned for years as it was reported that the lining of cans was BPA plastic at LEAST six, maybe more, years ago.

If we can't find it in jars, we don't buy it. As far as veggies, fresh-frozen IS far better than canned anyhow, as it's stable once packaged. (NEVER us that horrid boil-in-bag stuff - yaaah, cooking on/in plastic? Yeah... right.. and here's Mr. Tumor, he's going to be your friend now..)

People really need to pay less attention to the hoary teevee melodramas and more attention to what the scientists are saying. Again, this is OLD news.


I managed to cut most of the BPA out of my life years ago, but canned foods is an area where I still struggle. Companies have to pay a premium to use cans with BPA-free lining to package their goods, but few do (e.g. Eden Foods, Tecumseh, MI packages beans in BPA-free cans). However, it is up to the FDA to approve which foods may or may not be packaged in those types of cans. Tomatoes are some of the most acidic foods you'll fine in cans lined with BPA, and it leaches the stuff right into the food. However, according to Eden Food's website (, the FDA hasn't approved another type of can lining for such acidic foods. Once again, we have the FDA to thank for contributing to our poor health, instead of protecting us as they should be.
Adam, if you don't believe that this is a serious issue, you should really read the scientific literature for yourself.

I found this totally disgusting that all this can be happening when we have the FDA that is supposedly looking after our welfare. The nation has been eating canned goods for years, especially when women began working outside of the house. I can't imagine what we have consumed. There has to be a law for the manufacturers who care less other than profit. People with low income can't choose organic; they would be able to buy very little. How do we know organic is organic as it posted on packages and labels is also a thought.

This reminds me of freon scare in 1980s. Few years before DuPont's patent on freon was to expire, and freon to be available at a fraction what DuPont was charging, there was a flurry of research on the environmental hazards of freon. In 1987 freon use was banned worldwide. Guess who has near-monopoly on the replacement refrigerant...

More fear-mongering nonsense by the People For A Perfect World.

"Prepared and delivered by a caterer that avoided using foods packaged in plastic or cans, the meals were stored in glass and stainless steel containers." Well then the switch for those 3 days was really easy for the study participants. How does the average family with two working parents do this every day? And how expensive would it be? The food packaging industry should be held accountable to change their ways for the safety of all our citizens. But bottom line profit has always been more important than health, so nothing will change.

Beyond BPA there are so many other issues to look for not just in packaged foods, but also in milk, eggs and much more.

To learn more about "What's Really for Dinner" tune into American Public University's special webcast that will explore the risks of modern food; on Monday, April 11 at 11:00 a.m. ET. You don't need to be scared to eat, just aware.

Register today -

Another reason to shop for fresh food and process it yourself.

it seems like we should go back to the way things were in the past - drinks came in glass bottles (that were REUSED, not just recycled), canned food did not have a plastic lining (still kept it just as fresh), and things like meat were packaged in butcher paper, not those ridiculous single-use styrofoam trays.
all this convenience isn't doing anyone any good - oh yeah, except for the plastics council.

Why doesn't the FDA do anything to protect the American population by completely banning the use of BPA??? Americans should sue the the American government for not protecting us from CANCER CAUSING materials in food products.

Another reason among many to go natural
Tom Billard
independent Watkins products associate

How about if the companies making the canned products stop using BPA in the containers? It's already been done in many plastic products.

Fresh, and organic ingredients are nice, but everyone doesn't always have the time to prepare them (the difference between canned beans and soaking, cooking your own beans being an example). I don't eat every thing out of a can, but at a certain point it's just a necessity in your day to day life/schedule. I buy a lot of organic...but what if it's organic beans and cans?

Companies should not be using products found to be harmful in their products and packaging. Maybe some will change how they are packaging, a la plastic bottles, reusable bottles. I certainly hope so.

Good luck shopping for food that doesn't come in plastic containers or cans.

You think the food packaging and canning companies are going to let this study go unchallenged? They will come right back with their own studies. Modern technology has always been about speed, convenience, and money. Meanwhile, americans will get fatter and sicker.


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