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Canned Food–BPA Link Confirmed

by Sandy Todd Webster on Oct 20, 2016

Food for Thought

A collaborative study by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and the Stanford Prevention Research Center has shown that eating canned food increases exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hyperactivity in children. The research, published in the October 2016 issue of Environmental Research, evaluated more than 6,000 people and highlighted specific canned foods linked to higher levels of the chemical.

BPA is a compound used to make resins that coat the inside of food cans and jar lids. The amount of BPA contamination varies among cans, the researchers found. “I could eat three cans of peaches, and you could eat one can of cream of mushroom soup and have a greater exposure to BPA,” said lead author Jennifer Hartle, PhD, who at the time of the study was a 2013 Center for a Livable Future–Lerner Fellow and postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University.

The research team found that canned food was associated with higher urinary BPA concentrations, and the more canned food participants consumed, the higher their BPA levels were. This was true in both children and adults, with the association being even stronger in children.

However, as noted by co-author and CLF founder Robert Lawrence, this doesn’t mean consumers should throw out the baby with the bath water. “We’ve been working hard to get consumers to eat the right foods—fruits and vegetables, and quality protein from plants, nuts and lean cuts of meat—and for some, these come in the form of canned foods. While there is a link to increased urinary BPA measurements, they are below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration exposure guidelines, and we wouldn’t want anyone to stop eating these foods because of our findings,” he explained. “I am a strong advocate for getting more fresh fruits and vegetables on dinner plates and in school lunches. The real question is how we move away from packaged foods. And if we have to use them, what safer alternatives are there to BPA and its sister chemicals?”

In a statement published by CNN, Lauren Sucher, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said, “The FDA has performed extensive research and reviewed hundreds of studies about BPA’s safety, and has determined that current authorized uses of BPA in food packaging are safe. The FDA continues to monitor literature and research on BPA.”

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.