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BPA in Canned Foods: Feds to Examine Bisphenol A Health Risks

Consumer Reports found that many canned foods had significant levels of the chemical additive bisphenol A (BPA) within the food itself, including canned foods labeled "BPA free."

The Los Angeles Times reports that Consumer Reports released findings showing measurable levels of BPA in a wide range of foods, including some labeled to be free of the chemical.

BPA is a plastic hardener and a component of epoxy resin used to help extend shelf life without affecting flavor. Currently, BPA is approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. However, the FDA is now taking a closer look at reviewing the existing evidence about BPA's health effects.

The consumer advocacy group's analysis raises concerns about the level of BPA in food products and bolsters arguments for banning it from metal can linings and infant products, such as bottles and sippy cups.

Studies show bisphenol A is linked with increased risks of certain cancers, diabetes, reproductive abnormalities, heart disease early onset puberty, infertility, and weight gain in animals.

The National Health Institutes is pouring $30 million to study the safety of BPA. NIH officials say the almost half the money comes from economic stimulus funds.

About 19 name-brand foods were tested by Consumer Reports, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans. Consumer Reports found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested contained BPA.

The Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) is urging manufacturers and government agencies to act to eliminate the use of BPA in all materials that come into contact with food.

They also suggest the following tips to consumers:

  • Choose fresh food whenever possible.
  • Consider alternatives to canned food, beverages, juices, and infant formula.
  • Use glass containers when heating food in microwave ovens.

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