New Study Reveals BPA in 2/3 of Canned Goods
A research study testing 192 canned goods revealed that 67% of the cans tested contained BPA-based epoxy in the in the body and/or lid. The negative health effects of BPA have been a public concern for a long time, but there is very little transparency around the presence of BPA in packaging. There are no legal requirements in the US to disclose this information and most companies are tight lipped, which is why this research is set to blow the lid off BPA (and other “regrettable subsitutes”).
The Buyer Beware Study was a collaboration between Breast Cancer Fund, Campaign for Healthier Solutions, Clean Production Action, Ecology Center, and Mind the Store Campaign. Together they have conducted this research to follow up on the promises made by major national brands and retailers to phase out the use of BPA.
The Effects of BPA
The Buyer Beware Report Explains,
BPA is a hormonally active chemical. The scientific evidence linking BPA exposure to harm in humans is compelling and growing: More than 300 animal and human studies have linked exquisitely small amounts of BPA exposure, measured in parts per billion and even parts per trillion, to a staggering number of health problems, including breast and prostate cancer, asthma, obesity, behavioral changes (including attention deficit disorder), altered development of the brain and immune system, low birth weight and lowered sperm counts.
In short, small amounts of BPA have been shown to have significant health implications.
- 100% of Campbell’s cans tested (15 out of 15) contained BPA
- 71% of Del Monte cans tested (10 out of 14) contained BPA
- 50% of General Mills cans (6 out of 12) contained BPA
- Private label canned goods also tested positive for BPA
- 62% of Kroger products (13 out of 21)
- 50% of Albertsons/Randalls/Safeway products (8 out of 16)
- 100% of Target cans (5 out of 5)
- 88% of Walmart cans (7 out of 8)
Recap of the BPA Study
The BPA Movement
There has been considerable demand from consumers to remove BPA from packaging, but action from companies has been slow.
While several retailers have made claims to reduce the use of BPA in their canned foods, most have not yet lived up to it. Whole Foods was the only brand with test results to support the claims with 30% of cans testing positive for BPA (3 out of 10). Whole Foods has stated,
We are working to transition to BPA-free packaging, but since every other manufacturer is also looking at the switch, supplies of BPA-free packaging are limited. In our store brands, our buyers are not currently accepting any new canned items with BPA in the lining material and we have transitioned many of our private label products to BPA-free packages.
Trader Joe’s (Aldi Nord) was also ahead of the curve with 1/3 of cans testing positive for BPA (3 out of 9).
Best Bet to Avoid BPA
- Buy fresh or frozen foods
- Avoid canned foods whenever possible (jarred food is a possible alternative)
How to Support The Cause as a Conscious Consumer
- Support companies that do not use BPA in their can linings. You can look for BPA-free labels, but there is no standard for labeling at this time. A few companies to look for:
- Eden Organic
- Native Forest
- Several canned fish brands are mostly using BPA free cans but have not made a full transition yet. Canned fish doesn’t have the same acidic properties as tomatoes or other vegetables so the protective lining is not as big of an issue.
- Oregon’s Choice
- Wild Planet
- Eco Fish
- Here are a few resources to help. These are not as comprehensive as the Buyer Beware Report, but can be a great place to start:
- Tweet, Email, Facebook brands to tell them you are no longer purchasing their products due to concerns of BPA and other harmful chemicals in the linings of their cans
Access the full study here: Buyer Beware: Toxic BPA & Regrettable Substitutes in the Linings of Canned Food
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