BPA Present in Most Canned Foods

Readers of this blog are familiar with issues surrounding the highly ubiquitous and estrogenic chemical <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">bisphenol A—known commonly as BPA—a compound in nearly every consumer product. Now, headlines are discussing what we have long been saying: BPA can be found in most canned foods. Here is how BPA works inside canned foods, explained Reuters: The thin epoxy resin layer rests between the food and the metal, which serves to prevent rust.

According to Shanna Swan, a professor and researcher at the University of Rochester in New York, BPA exposure from canned food, “is far more extensive” than, say, from plastic bottles. “It’s particularly concerning when it’s lining infant formula cans,” quoted Reuters. Although a known carrier of the controversial chemical, plastic bottles are not the only item containing the plastic hardener known for its use in polycarbonate manufacturing. BPA is also found in beverage cans, a wide array of plastic products, thermal paper, and resins used in nautical paint, an issue in our aquatic environment.

BPA imitates the hormone estrogen and acts as an anti-androgen, which means, even in the smallest of amounts, BPA affects sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children, explained Science Daily previously.

Many hundreds of studies have linked BPA to cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems. In urine tests, BPA is found in the overwhelming majority of Americans, more than 93 percent and, significantly, the chemical is found in 90 percent of all newborns.

We, very recently, wrote that another new study at Tufts University School of Medicine revealed BPA’s carcinogenic effects. Specifically, studies in rodents showed that estrogen disrupting chemicals (EDCs), such as BPA, can cause harm at much lower levels when exposure occurs when the body is developing. Earlier animal studies also found that exposure to even trace BPA levels increases cancer risks in adulthood.

Industry has long argued that scientists and advocates exaggerate BPA’s adverse effects, continually citing two industry studies; however, at last count, over 900 peer-reviewed studies found links between BPA and such effects. Meanwhile, said Reuters, trade groups and industry now claim that BPA’s use in cans meant for food have significantly reduced food poisoning deaths. Regardless, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently said it had “some concern” regarding the chemical and was going to use about $30 million in federal stimulus funds to study BPA’s effects on the human body, wrote Reuters. The report, being conducted with the National Institutes of Health, is expected in late 2011.

Industry also claims, said Reuters, that BPA quickly metabolizes in the body, leaving the body through excretion before it can “interact with cells” and claim that, in testing, the amounts of BPA used exceed actual usage levels. But, critics of the chemical feel that any amount is too great, considering the risks.

Yale University physician, professor and researcher Hugh Taylor said his research confirms that BPA changes how genes react to estrogen and could allow fetuses to develop cancer later in life, wrote Reuters. “I tell my pregnant patients to avoid products containing it,” he said. “Even a fleeting exposure in pregnancy can cause lasting damage,” quoted Reuters. Taylor’s research shows that BPA prompts epigenetic changes, which means it changes how DNA operates, said Reuters, a significant issue. “It has permanent, lasting effects,” said Taylor, “The adult exposure is concerning, but I think the fetal exposure is worse,” quoted Reuters.

Frederick vom Saal, a professor at the University of Missouri who is conducting separate studies said that if were a drug, BPA, “would have been pulled immediately” by regulators, reported Reuters.

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