Eating Canned Soup Spikes BPA Levels

We’ve long warned about the dangers of the polycarbonate plastic chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogenic chemical whose ubiquity is near legendary. Found in a growing number of consumer products, it is probably best known today for its presence in food and beverage can liners.

Where cans are concerned, BPA is a byproduct of chemicals used to inhibit corrosion and ensure foods and beverages do not acquire a metallic taste. But, notes MyHealthNewsDaily, citing another new BPA study, eating food packaged in cans could raise BPA urine levels significantly higher than previously believed.

The study of 75 participants revealed that those who ate one 12-ounce canned soup daily for five days tested with BPA levels of 20.8 micrograms per liter of urine, versus people who consumed 12 ounces of fresh soup daily and tested with BPA levels of 1.1 micrograms per liter. This rise translates into a massive and surprising 1,221% increase. “To see an increase in this magnitude was quite surprising,” said study leader Karin Michels, associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said MyHealthNewsDaily. The group’s median age was 27. Urine samples were collected on the fourth and fifth days, MyHealthNewsDaily explained. BPA was found in 77% of the fresh soup group and in 100% of the canned soup group.

According to the study, the team wrote that the BPA levels seen in the participants “are among the most extreme reported in a nonoccupational setting,” MyHealthNewsDaily reported. Michels pointed out that, in the general population, levels are typically about 1 to 2 micrograms per liter. The study also revealed that levels in excess of 13 micrograms per liter detected in top 5% of participants in the National Health and Examination Survey, an ongoing study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said MyHealthNewsDaily.

“We are concerned about the influence of [hormone-disrupting] chemicals on health in general, and BPA is one of them,” Michels told MyHealthNewsDaily. Michels explained that prior studies, and only a few at that, relied on participants’ memories for the amount of canned foods consumed. This study was the first in which randomized testing and canned and fresh food was used and in which differences were measured, said MyHealthNewsDaily. The study is appears online in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “We’ve known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body. This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use,” said study researcher Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student at Harvard, wrote MyHealthNewsDaily.

MyHealthNewsDaily discussed a 2008 study of 1,455 people that revealed a link with increased urinary BPA levels and risks for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and unusual liver enzyme concentrations after factoring out age, body mass index, and smoking. MyHealthNewsDaily also noted that prior studies linked increased BPA levels in expectant mothers’ urine to their children’s health problems.

We’ve written about at least two BPA-breast cancer links and links to increased anxiety and depression in preschoolers exposed to BPA in the womb. Because BPA is structurally similar to the estrogen, estrogenic exposure on the developing fetus and growing children has long been a point of concern given that this sort of exposure has been linked to adverse biologic effects; this demographic is also more susceptible to adverse health effects since the body is still developing.

BPA interrupts sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children and has been linked to toxic injury and implications in 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, premature puberty, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues, and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems in males as young as the developing fetus.

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