I never trusted food in cans. Not sure why. Maybe it was the smell, the shape, or that it just seemed fake to me.
In any case, years ago I made a decision to stop eating canned food and quickly found that it was actually pretty easy to live without the convenience.
So if I could send a message from today’s Jenny to the Jenny of all those years ago, I’d just say, “Good call!” (And also: “Buy Apple stock in 1980.”)
As for the “good call” part of the message, the Journal of the American Medical Association provides some frightening numbers…
The scoop on soup and BPA
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a dangerous toxin and will someday be completely banned from use in consumer goods. But we’re still a long way from that day.
As I’ve mentioned before, BPA is a compound that’s found in a wide variety of plastic products (eating utensils, plates, bowls, baby bottles, pacifiers, etc.) and…the lining of many food and beverage cans.
Years ago, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that high urinary BPA concentrations appear to be linked to increased risk of
- heart disease,
- type 2 diabetes,
- and abnormal concentrations of liver enzymes.
Then later, JAMA published another BPA study that gives us a good idea of the upper range of BPA concentrations.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recruited healthy subjects for the first randomized intervention study of BPA. Subjects who ate freshly made soup every day for five days had an average BPA level of 1.1 micrograms per liter of urine. Average BPA in subjects who ate soup from cans was an astounding 20.8 micrograms per liter!
That level is common for people exposed to BPA as an occupational hazard, but these subjects were mostly Harvard students and instructors. Even the researchers described the results as “quite surprising.”
Kid’s canned foods test positive for BPA
They could have added “quite distressing” if they had seen another study from the Breast Cancer Fund. When BCF researchers tested six canned foods marketed to kids, all six tested positive for BPA. The highest levels were found in two Campbell’s products: Toy Story pasta in chicken soup, and Disney Princess pasta in chicken soup.
Of course, Campbell’s is a worldwide giant in food production, with annual sales that reached nearly $8 billion in 2008. That’s a lot of soup going out into the world. And with many Campbell’s brands costing less than a dollar, there may be millions of consumers pushing BPA levels that are closer to 20.8 than 1.1.
But I don’t mean to single out Campbell’s. Their BPA use is apparently no different than scores of other major food and beverage producers that sell canned products.
There are exceptions. More than 10 years ago (WAY ahead of the curve) Eden Foods went to great lengths to make the switch to BPA-free cans. Hain Celestial, Heinz, ConAgra, and other brands are beginning to phase out BPA use.
You can easily shop for BPA-free containers and feeding bottles for infants. Just google “BPA-free” and you’ll find plenty of products that won’t increase your diabetes and heart disease risk.
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
Visit www.hsionline.com to sign up for the free HSI e-Alert.
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