Fast Company

Report: BPA Levels in Canned Beans, Soups Are Five Times Higher Than Previously Thought

soda can

At this point, no company wants to be caught with a BPA-filled product. The chemical, which is found in food and drink can linings, water bottles, computers, and other products containing plastic, can cause numerous health problems--it mimics estrogen, for example, and that can lead to infertility and even cancer. Now the National Workgroup for Safe Markets has come out with a report (PDF) claiming that canned foods, many of which are labeled as "healthy" or organic, contain an average of 77 parts per billion (ppb) of BPA. When the FDA last tested canned food in 1996, it found found an average of 16 ppb, or almost five times less than the average level of BPA found in the NWSM report.

The NWSM conducted its research on 50 donated food and beverage containers from 20 people located in 19 U.S. states and Ontario, Canada. Cans containing fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, soups, tomato products, sodas, and milk were submitted from kitchen cupboards, pantries, and straight from local chain grocery stores. An FDA-certified lab in San Francisco evaluated the concentrations of BPA in the food within the cans, with some upsetting results: BPA was found in 92% of the canned food samples. NSWM found no correlation between the age of the product and the amount of BPA in the food, and BPA levels couldn't be predicted by price, quality, or nutrition value of the product.

NWSM reports:

The highest level of BPA—1,140 part per billion (ppb), to our knowledge the highest level ever found in the U.S.—was detected in DelMonte French Style Green Beans from a participant’s pantry in Wisconsin. Other high scorers included Walmart’s Great Value Green Peas from a store in Kentucky, and Healthy Choice Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup from a pantry in Montana. On average, the products contained 77.36 ppb of bisphenol A.

 

This doesn't mean that we should shun cans altogether. Instead, manufacturers could implement alternatives like metal can linings, polyester coatings, and even simple glass jars. They might have to, anyway, if legislation is passed to limit the amount of BPA in cans--not an unlikely event considering that the EPA recently added BPA to its chemical concern list.

Check out the full NSWM report below for more detailed information on the findings as well as a list of companies that are phasing out BPA.

[No Silver Lining]

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4 Comments

  • randy

    the reason its 92 % positive is because all the can manufactures use the same process. some things are obvious . its not what you put in the can its the plastic lining.some foods may adsorb more than others but its still a big problem. its not rocket science.

  • Benjamen Hicks

    I agree that BPA is dangerous, and reading this article made me want to eat more fresh or frozen vegetables, but the study done by the National Workgroup for Safe Markets is hardly a large enough sample to be representative of thousands of varieties of canned goods. They only collected 50 samples. 50. I could do a 50 sample experiment by myself. I cringed when I read, "BPA was detected in 46 of 50, or
    92%." There is no way 92% is accurate. What is the margin of error on a sample this small. +-30? Not only that, but they are drawing conclusions such as, there is "No Correlation Found between Age or
    Canned Food and BPA Levels." How can they be sure when they used such a small sample? I want to agree with the study, but it seems like irresponsible research.