Little Girl Drinking Mineral Water from a Plastic Bottle

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a carbon-based compound that is used in epoxy resins and other durable coatings, namely the cans used in canned foods, as a coating in plastic bottles such as baby bottles, and it has been used since 1957.  However, despite its use for over 50 years, it is proven as a harmful toxin in many situations.

Health Issues Linked to BPA

The list is extensive.  BPA is a substance that is known as an "endocrine disruptor."  Endocrine disruptors act like estrogen in the human body, and scientific study keeps adding to the list of problems they can cause, especially in women and children.  Unfortunately, the FDA and many similar bodies in other countries continually say that BPA is perfectly safe as part of food container manufacturing, despite the piling evidence to the contrary.

In animal studies, BPA is linked to negative changes in the following:

  • Brain structure and chemistry
  • Breasts and mammary glands
  • Development, including body size
  • Prostate gland
  • Testes

While there have not been many studies that associate BPA with those issues in humans, there have been a few.  BPA levels, when tested, are consistently higher in humans than the levels present in animals when the problems occur.  Growing concern over BPA exposure causing issues with brain development to fetuses during pregnancy and infants has led to a BPA ban in the manufacture of baby bottles in many countries, including the USA.

However, in the U.S., at least, it is still allowed for use in the cans and containers used in the manufacture and storage of infant formulas and other infant foods.  In addition to this, most women have BPA in their systems.  BPA is also linked to obesity, thyroid issues, breast cancer, noncancerous tumors, and a plethora of problems with the reproductive system.

What to Do About Eating Canned Foods

The longer a food is exposed to BPA, the more the food has the potential to get contaminated.  It isn’t yet known definitively how much of the BPA found in humans comes from cans, but it is suspected as a likely source.  It is also unknown exactly how much BPA in an adult body leads to compromised health, but it is clear that it takes very little to cause issues in infants and children.

Canned foods are extremely convenient to have on hand.  There is nothing easier in terms of hot food than opening up a can, pouring the contents into a pot and heating it up on the stove.  The food is usually microwaveable too, but whether that is better or not is a matter of opinion and a little controversy of its own.  Because it is uncertain how much exposure humans get from canned foods, it is really up to an individual to decide whether to stop eating foods canned in containers that have BPA in them.  Some companies that manufacture food have voluntarily stopped using BPA or plan to phase its use out.

For instance, Campbell’s announced early in 2012 that they would stop using BPA in their cans.  Some canned corn, beans and fish from various companies, such as Eden Organics and Trader Joe’s are also BPA-free.  If planning to avoid cans and containers containing BPA, don’t assume that just because the can says "organic" that the cans are free of BPA.  Usually, a person has to get in touch with a food manufacturer to find out.

The only way, currently, to eat 100 percent BPA-free while enjoying the convenience of canned foods without contacting the manufacturers is to do home canning with glass jars.  That is often time consuming, but it is easy to do.  BPA is connected to far too many diseases, even if the majority of studies are animal studies, to completely ignore its known effects and potential effects.

Last Updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013