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Natural Awakenings

Canned Chemicals: New Packaging Moves Away from BPA

Feb 28, 2011 05:45PM

The chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), used for years in clear plastic bottles and food can liners, has been restricted in Canada and some U.S. states and municipalities because this synthetic estrogen is a suspected endocrine disruptor—a chemical that can interfere with the body’s gland and hormone functions. The Food and Drug Administration will soon decide what it considers is a safe level of exposure, based on a mounting body of independent research.

Now, Consumer Reports has released results of its tests of 19 common canned foods; almost all of them contained BPA—even those labeled BPA-free and organic. The highest levels were found in canned soups and green beans.

According to the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 93 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. Among Japan’s population, after BPA was voluntarily removed from the linings of food and beverage cans in 1997, a 2003 study showed that levels of BPA were down 50 percent. In the U.S., major food suppliers are starting to respond with non-BPA packaging for select products ranging from juice to tuna and pasta sauce.

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