Eating It? BPA Found in Surprising Places

I’ve been concerned about the industrial compound bisphenol A (BPA) ever since I first read about it, and have been chronically frustrated by its potential harm and prevalence in our environment–most specifically in our food, and hence, our bodies. More than 100 peer-reviewed studies have found BPA to be toxic at low doses. BPA is a synthetic estrogen and commonly used to strengthen plastic and line food cans. As Nicholas D. Kristof points out in an Op-Ed in The New York Times on Sunday, scientists have linked it, though not conclusively, to everything from breast cancer to obesity, from attention deficit disorder to genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike.

Anyway. It’s easy to slip into the (wishful) thinking that the FDA is protecting us from toxic threats like this, and that we probably, hopefully, aren’t getting enough of these chemicals to have much of an effect. But now comes Consumer Reports’ latest tests of canned foods including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans. The findings? Almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested contain some BPA. The canned organic foods they tested did not always have lower BPA levels than nonorganic brands of similar foods analyzed. And, this was crushing to me, they even found the chemical in some products in cans that were labeled “BPA-free.”

The site reports that a 165-pound adult eating one serving of canned green beans from the test sample, could ingest about 80 times more BPA than their experts’ recommended upper daily  limit. Children eating multiple servings per day of canned foods with BPA levels comparable to the ones they found in some tested products could get a dose of BPA approaching levels that have caused adverse effects in several animal studies.

The FDA says it isn’t a threat, but body burden studies show that BPA was detected in 95 percent of the people included in one sampling–it’s obviously getting to us somehow. Perhaps most telling is that in Japan major manufacturers voluntarily changed their can linings in 1997 to cut or eliminate the use of BPA because of concerns about health effects. A 2003 Japanese study found that the levels of the chemical in subjects’ urine dropped by 50 percent after the change in cans was made. Time to kick the cans!

Next: Stop eating BPA, here’s how

How to limit you exposure to BPA

Canned Food
Canned foods are thought to be the predominate route of BPA exposure.

  •  Buy prepared foods in jars when possible–especially tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  • Opt for fresh produce when you can, choose frozen produce over canned.

Infant Formula
All U.S. manufacturers use BPA-based lining on the metal portions of infant formula containers. Tests of liquid formulas by the FDA and EWG show that BPA leaches into the formula from all brands tested. Enfamil formula appears to have the highest concentrations of the 20 tests. The only solution here is to use alternatives to canned formula. If you have found a formula that is listed as BPA-free, please tell us about it in the comment field!

When possible it is best to avoid #7 plastics, especially for children’s food. Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on the bottom are safer choices and do not contain BPA.

  • Find baby bottles in glass versions, or those made from the safer plastics including polyamine, polypropylene and polyethylene.
  • Soft or cloudy-colored plastic does not contain BPA.
  • Many metal water bottles are lined with a plastic coating that contains BPA. Look for stainless steel bottles that do not have a plastic liner.

For the full details of the report, visit Consumer

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Jacqueline Baruch

Have been using canned beans, tomatoes & corn. Now I will change my ways. Do not understand why the government keeps our health in jeopardy. Money is the motive I suppose.

Megan S.
Megan S.3 years ago

great list! thank you :)

Please keep it up with positive pro-active instructions in articles :)

Marianne Barto
MARIA B.3 years ago

If the FDA and government know of this, why isn't something being done for our health's sake? Big bucks, I'm guessing. This makes the medical profession thrive.

Justyna D.
Justyna D.3 years ago

This is very concerning. For storage of leftovers, I made the switch to glass containers instead of plastic tupperware a while back. And, at all costs, I avoid buying anything canned.

Kat Head
Katherine H.3 years ago


Paula L.
Paula L.3 years ago

I do my best to avoid purchasing foods in containers that contain BPA. But I have 2 grand daughters that live with me and one of them just doesn't seem to get the message to avoid these type containers when buying food and drink products. When she cooks, I generally say I'm not hungry and scavange later in the foods that I know didn't come from those containers.

We are getting more and more into gardening and raising our own vegetables and seasonings. We do our own composting and this way we know what we are putting into our system. I have another grand daughter who lives in an apartment in the city and she has taken to growing in large flower pots on her apartment patio to avoid the additives that the government allows big businesses to put into the containers and the foods.

Oh, and Max M. I ordinarily do not approve of foul language words, but this time I love your comment on what FDA stands for. Because at this point , you are absolutely correct! And might I add, big business $$$$'s has gained them that new name!

Jeramie D.
Jeramie D.3 years ago

I try to buy things in glass which I then recycle. But still need the reminder to avoid canned goods. Can't figure out of Fiji water is OK. Buy glass bottled water if I have to buy water. Thank you for the reminders. Sharing, because knowledge is power.

Deb L.
Deb L.3 years ago

Wow, Is there nothing the big conglomerates won't poison in their neverending greed!!

Luna ButterflyMoon
Past Member 3 years ago

My roommate works for SABIC I.P., a huge global plastic manufacturing company. I will surely confront him with this, and the canned foods in the storage room are! For the most part, we switched to glass jars anyway, because of a concern of canned food containing too much iron a few years ago. The beans in tomato sauce however, which my roommate really loves, are still bought canned, because of the canned version of the beans being much cheaper then his glass jarred-nephew. As you can I know this, and his glass jarred-nephew is the only one that's bought from now on!

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.4 years ago