A report released today revealed that Americans who eat canned foods may be exposing themselves and their families to levels of bisphenol A (BPA) equivalent to levels shown to cause health problems in animals. The report, No Silver Lining: An Investigation into Bisphenol A in Canned Foods, release by a coalition of public and environmental health organizations including the Breast Cancer Fund, tested 50 cans from 19 U.S. states and one Canadian province. Results show that 90 percent of the cans tested had detectable levels of the chemical linked to breast cancer and other health problems including prostate cancer, obesity and hyperactivity disorder.
Some key findings of the report include:
• The study tested 50 cans from 19 states and Ontario, Canada for BPA contamination, including cans with fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, soups, tomato products, sodas, and milks, which together represent common ingredient and meal options for a wide range of North American consumers.
• One can of Del Monte green beans had the highest levels of BPA ever found in canned food, at 1140 parts per billion; EPA presumes BPA is safe at 50 parts per billion per day.
• Test results showed there is inconsistency across brands and types of food. In one case, two different cans of peas from two separate lots had an extreme difference: on had 6 parts per billion, while the other had over 300 parts per billion.
Anyone who reads this report will surely agree that getting BPA out of food is an urgent food safety issue that demands immediate congressional action. Fortunately, the Senate is sitting on the opportunity to address this problem right now by including strong protections against food-based exposures to BPA in the Food Safety Modernization Act. This is our best chance to protect Americans, especially our kids, from this toxic chemical.
BPA has been banned from baby bottles and children’s sippy cups in Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin, four counties in New York and the City of Chicago. Connecticut restricts the use of BPA in cans of baby food and canned infant formula, and similar legislation is waiting to be signed into law in Vermont.
Action by the states is commendable, but it is resulting in a patchwork of regulation that still leaves the majority of American children and mothers exposed to a chemical that’s been linked in hundreds of peer-reviewed studies to breast cancer, developmental problems and a host of other illnesses. The Senate needs to act on the evidence we already have and protect kids now by addressing BPA as part of the food safety bill.