BPA in Canned Food
June 3, 2015
Take These Steps to Reduce Your Family’s Risk
Is your pantry stocked with cans of soup, beans, vegetables or other family favorites? If so, it’s time to take a closer look at the brands you choose.
More than 75 brands are still using the toxic hormone distruptor bisphenol A (BPA) to line metal food cans, according to a new report issued by EWG.
Learn more about the health risks associated with BPA—what you can do to reduce your family’s exposure—in the following excerpts:
About the report:
EWG surveyed 252 brands produced by 119 companies between January and August 2014 and found that although some food companies and brands—from small independent labels like Amy’s to global food giants like the Hain Celestial Group—offer BPA-free packaging in all product lines, others, such as Target Corp. and Hormel Foods Corp. still use cans containing BPA.
Disturbingly, consumers have no reliable way of knowing whether a canned food item is BPA-free.
The dangers of BPA:
Over the last 20 years, a steady stream of scientific studies have documented the human health hazards of BPA, including its links to an array of illnesses—such as breast cancer, reproductive damage, developmental problems and heart disease—and its tendency to migrate from food packaging into food.
While it is not clear how much BPA ingestion is harmful to humans, the existing evidence suggests that the developing fetus and young child are most at risk.
What can you do?
EWG recommends that people limit or avoid canned food. If you purchase canned foods, select one of the brands that uses a BPA-free can liner. Ask the company about the safety of the materials used as a replacement.
Pregnant woman and children should take special care to avoid eating food packaged in BPA epoxy cans. Although it can be difficult to avoid these foods when dining out, it’s worth the effort to make the switch at home.
Take the following steps to reduce your family’s risk of BPA exposure:
- Substitute fresh, frozen, or dried food for canned.
- Purchase food in alternative packaging, such as glass.
- For those who cannot avoid BPA epoxy can linings, rinsing canned beans, fruit, and vegetables in water may help lower the level of BPA in the food.
- Never heat food in the can.
- Choose canned foods from EWG’s Best Players or Better Players lists of brands and companies that attest to using BPA-free linings in all or some of their canned products. Search EWG’s Food Scores for specific products.
If you want to avoid BPA in canned food or see more of your favorite brands and varieties available in cans without BPA, you’ll need to do your homework—and take action.
- Contact the company and ask for the BPA status of its product if it’s not already publicly disclosed. Urge companies that say or imply that they are shifting to BPA-free packaging to post frequent updates on their progress on their websites and through social media.
- Demand that companies disclose what’s in their can linings. Companies need to hear from consumers that they will no longer buy products with BPA epoxy can linings or substitute linings that may pose an equal or worse threat.