BPA Risk from Food and Beverage Cans

Food canPublic health experts have been warning consumers for the last few years about the possible risk of BPA exposure from the epoxy lining in food and beverage cans. Now a November 2011 study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health shows the concern to be well-founded.

The Harvard study found highly elevated levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in the urine of volunteers who consumed canned soup. The study compared BPA levels when volunteers ate one serving of canned soup a day for five days to levels when the same people ate a a serving a day of fresh soup made with fresh (non-canned) ingredients for five days. BPA levels were more than 1,000% higher in volunteers after eating the canned soup.

In previous research, BPA has been linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity in humans and has been shown to interfere with development of reproductive systems in animals.

In a The New York Times article about the new findings, Karin Michels, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and an author of the study, is quoted as saying that while the study only examined exposure from soup cans, “My guess is that with other canned foods, you would see similar increases in bisphenol-A. But we only tested soups, so we wouldn’t be able to predict the absolute size of the increase.” She cautions that soda is a particular concern because some people drink many cans a day.

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