Bisphenol A (BPA) has been the darling of the he-said/she-said set lately. The FDA has concluded that BPA is safe, while consumer groups and some scientists say its effects on animals should cause concern about low-level chronic exposures in humans. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association offers some compelling evidence that should add some weight to those advocating caution.
BPA is a chemical widely used in the lining of food cans and in plastic food and beverage containers–think water bottles, baby bottles and food storage. Yikes! If you look at the recycling code on the bottom of a plastic container and see No. 7, be warned. No. 7 includes several plastic types (it’s the catchall “other” category) but it is predominantly polycarbonate. The great thing about polycarbonate is that it is shatterproof, the bad thing–it owes its durability to BPA.
According to a story published in the Chicago Tribune, the study the Journal of the American Medical Association offers the first scientific evidence that adults with higher levels of BPA in their bodies were more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, and liver problems. The researchers found that people in the group with the highest concentration of BPA had almost three times the odds of cardiovascular disease as did those in the lowest quartile, even when factors such as race, income and education levels were accounted for. That group had a 2.4 times higher risk of diabetes. Higher BPA levels also were associated with clinically abnormal concentrations of three liver enzymes, the study reported. Researchers did not find a link to any other health problems, including cancer or respiratory disease.
As a consumer, we can limit our exposure to BPA by avoiding plastics containing BPA–specifically those with recycling code No. 7, as mentioned above. As well, almost all canned food and soda cans are lined with an epoxy resin containing BPA.
And if there’s any better motivation to skip the canned food (besides taste, cost, and overall satisfaction) this might be it. Replace canned beans with homemade beans using these methods.