Posts Tagged ‘canned food’

No more BPA in food and beverage containers!

That’s what leaders from the House and Senate are proposing. The bill was introduced Friday and would establish a federal ban on the use of BPA in all food and beverage containers.

canned-foods

From the Washington Post:
The move came a day after Sunoco, the gas and chemical company, sent word to investors that it is now refusing to sell bisphenol A, known as BPA, to companies for use in food and water containers for children younger than 3. The company told investors that it cannot be certain of the chemical compound’s safety. Last week, six baby-bottle manufacturers, including Playtex and Gerber, announced that they will stop using BPA in bottles.

I am glad one of the big oil companies is taking a stand like this. Very impressive since the sale of BPA is a lucrative market for them.

From Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Scientists and environmentalists praised the move as an acknowledgment of the chemical’s danger, but some worried that more needs to be done to study how humans are exposed to the chemical.BPA is found lurking in many places including baby bottles, plastic containers (even some labeled microwave safe), food and beverage containers, eyeglasses, CDs, dental sealants and many other places.

“It may represent just the tip of a much larger iceberg,” said Pat Hunt, the professor from Washington State University whose work led to the discovery of the effects of BPA on animals more than 10 years ago.

“Recent work suggests that contaminated food and beverages alone aren’t sufficient to account for the levels reported in human blood. Thus, it’s clear that we need to know a lot more about how we are exposed to this chemical.”

 

BPA has been linked to behavioral problems, obesity, certain cancers, diabetes, miscarriage, low sperm counts, hyperactivity, heart disease, has been found to interfere with chemotherapy in breast cancer patients, and many other problems.

Why the FDA still considers BPA “safe” is beyond me. I mean other than they are in bed with the plastic industry folks. Hey, money talks. But its certainly infuriating as a parent knowing that hundreds of studies, another Federal Health agency and now even a BPA manufacturer all find there is enough evidence that this stuff does cause harm even in small amounts.

There are ways to avoid BPA in food and beverages. We do not use canned foods/beverages in our house, and I do not miss it or find it any harder to make dinner. I get fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. For soup, we make our own from scratch –it’s healthier and it tastes much better. If I really need canned something, which is usually just beans for taco night, I use Eden Organics whose cans are not lined with BPA (except tomatoes, which are too acidic). Even chicken and beef stock can be bought in a boxed form allowing you to avoid cans. Cream of whatever soups are the only other thing I use and I know there are recipes out there to make your own. For beverages, go for glass bottles (though the tops may be lined with BPA), or plastic (which is a whole other concern. We just gave up soft drinks all together a few years ago – there is no nutritional benefit to drinking it, it’s full of bad stuff and its not cheap.

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

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Sources:
JSOnline
Washington Post

BPA investigation: To read the Journal Sentinel’s ongoing investigation “Chemical Fallout,” go to www jsonline.com/chemicalfallout. JSOnAir Meg Kissinger on BPA To see Meg Kissinger talk about the national attention the Journal Sentinel is getting for its research into bisphenol A, go to jsonline.com/jsonair.

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BPA may linger in body longer than we thought

New research shows that BPA may linger in the body much longer than we previously thought. Researches thought BPA was purged by the body in 24 hours, but that was based on limited research.

BPA is everywhere: in PVC pipe, in polycarbonate drink containers, in the plastic that lines food and soft-drink cans, and even in dental sealants. It’s also in our bodies. Virtually everyone has detectable levels of BPA in his or her body.

Now there’s evidence that BPA might be in our water as well as in our food, and that it lingers in our fat tissues. If confirmed — and the current findings are very preliminary — it could mean BPA is a bigger problem than thought.

University of Rochester researcher Richard Stahlhut, MD, MPH, analyzed data on 1,469 U.S. adults from the CDC’s huge 2003-2004 NHANES study. That study gave fasting people one-time BPA tests, and also collected extensive dietary data.

“After 10 to 15 hours of fasting, there shouldn’t be anybody with any detectable levels of BPA,” Stahlhut tells WebMD. “But it just hangs there like the London fog. You do see a subtle downward trend, but what you don’t see is it falling off the map. And by 24 hours it’s still there.”

And FastCompany pulled this quote from the study.
Not wishing to weigh the argument unscientifically, the research paper even states that, “Whether BPA can cause human health effects is a matter of some debate; the potential for harm to infants and the fetus is currently considered more likely than harm to adults.” But the piece concludes: “In our data, BPA levels appear to drop about eight times more slowly than expected – so slowly, in fact, that race and sex together have as big an influence on BPA levels as fasting time.”

The study was not perfect, the subjects in the study could drink tap water, black coffee and diet soda (hopefully not from cans lined with BPA). However, there was more BPA detected in the body that still gives us reason to be concerned.

These findings suggests that BPA may linger in the body longer, or that BPA may come from other sources like tap water (where BPA leaches from PVC pipes). Another theory is that BPA may be stored in body fat.

This is interesting because BPA may play a larger role in disease that we thought.

A 2008 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people with higher urinary BPA levels have more medical disorders. Another intriguing study from 2008 showed that BPA — at normal levels of exposure — disrupts a hormone involved in insulin sensitivity and diabetes. And a 2007 study showed that obese people are much more likely to suffer insulin resistance if they have high fat levels of organic pollutants.

“Imagine if what we think is caused by obesity is actually caused by persistent organics in the fat of obese people,” Stahlhut says. “If they don’t have the organics, they don’t have the diabetes. That would be huge.”

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

Follow me on Twitter!

Sources
WebMD
FastCompany

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BPA mimics estrogen and phthalates block testosterone

This article sums up pretty much what we already know, but it does a good job of showing how BPA acts like estrogen and phthalates block testosterone. I did learn that BPA exposure to babies in the womb have a greater negative effect on girls than boys, causing more reproductive harm than I thought.

Mice that were exposed to BPA as fetuses developed abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus, and vagina, Dr. Taylor said. Other murine studies found genetic abnormalities in eggs, an increased risk of mammary cancers, and early puberty in females.

The list of problems was shorter for male mice exposed to the chemical, with reduced sperm production and increased prostate size at the top.

And for phthalates…

Studies in male animals have found reduced sperm production, undescended testes, hypospadias, decreased testosterone production, and reduced anogenital distance.

The chemical’s effects on female reproduction were far fewer, with murine studies linking it to delayed or premature puberty.

They touch on the FDA’s stance that BPA is safe, where the FDA states they did not have sufficient evidence. However, human studies would be difficult. For one, a human study on either substance would be difficult since the entire population is exposed to both chemicals. Also, subjecting humans to high levels of this stuff would be unethical.

“Sometimes you just have to make decisions based on ‘inadequate’ evidence,” Dr. Lustig said regarding the FDA’s investigation of BPA, and potentially phthalates. “You just [make them] based on the right thing to do.”

Amen to that.

Read the entire article here.

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See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

Related Articles
Harmful plastics with BPA
Lead and PVC-free lunch boxes
Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas 
The Real Story Behind BPA

The Real Story Behind Bisphenol A

How a handful of consultants used Big Tobacco’s tactics to sow doubt about science and hold off regulation of BPA, a chemical in hundreds of products that could be harming an entire generation.

I always liked FastCompany magazine. There are always great articles. Well, they have recently looked into the BPA controversy / debate as well and published an article here last week. They looked at both sides, the history, how the studies were done, what the FDA reviewed and who funded the studies, etc. Pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about the BPA issue. They interviewed several folks from both sides. It’s a very long, but very interesting read.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article:
“The United States has a long tradition of keeping harmful substances — lead, DDT, tobacco, PCBs — on the market for decades after scientists find adverse effects.”

“Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who has launched numerous investigations into the agency, contends, “The FDA has got to be a watchdog, not a business partner with industry.”

“If these low-dose findings were counterintuitive to toxicologists, they made perfect sense to developmental biologists. After all, BPA is a synthetic hormone. Any physician knows that at small doses, most hormones are extremely powerful in stimulating their target organs, while at higher doses — above a certain threshold — they can paralyze these same organs. (Testosterone powers the male sex drive, for instance, but at high doses causes impotence.)”

Very interesting indeed. I could pull more quotes, but then I may as well copy the whole article! They have uncovered what many of us already know – there is enough evidence that it may cause harm at any dose so it is best to just avoid BPA altogether. Retailers such as Babies R Us, Wal-Mart and Target had said they would stop selling polycarbonate baby bottles at the end of 2008 (though I have seen them on the shelves as of last week). Nalgene has gone to a BPA-free plastic water bottle as consumers demand a safer product and the FDA sits and takes money from the plastic industry and tries to convince us that BPA is safe when there are over 100 studies not funded by the plastics that claim otherwise.

BPA, or Bisphenol A, is a hormone-mimicking chemical found in plastic polycarbonate baby bottles, water bottles, dental filings, in the lining of canned foods, etc. Even at low doses it can affect the endocrine system. Learn more here

I have several lists with safer alternatives to polycarbonate plastics.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage for kids

And I am finishing up my BPA free food storage list in between nursing my newborn, so please check back!

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Canned food without bisphenol A

While this artile is probably not exclusive of all canned food manufacturers, it does list a few who realize the dangers of BPA and have opted for alternatives. Companies such as Eden Foods, an organic company, have cans that are BPA-free. The cans only cost them a little more than 2 cents more per can over the BPA-tainted ones. Granted their canned food is expensive, at about $3.50 per can at my local Whole Foods.

I personally am avoiding canned foods as much as absolutely possible. I prefer frozen veggies anyway and fresh fruit, so other than the occassional refried beans to marry with our tacos, I have found I do not even miss using canned food. While fresh fruit takes a little more work to prepare, the taste is certainly worth it. And frozen veggies are just as easy as canned (and the organic versions are very affordable).

But should you still want canned versions that are BPA-free, check out this article for the few options available.

Whole Foods 365 Private Label Cans DO Contain Some BPA

I finally heard back from Whole Foods regarding whether or not their 365 brand contains BPA in the lining of their canned food products. Here is the response (I think he repeats himself, but this is the unedited email):

Trisha,

Thank you so much for your email.  We are committed to helping our customers protect themselves and their families and as such are concerned about the growing body of research which connects BPA and other estrogenic compounds, including phthalates, to certain health effects. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that such materials are appropriate and safe, we are currently evaluating certain products and packaging materials on a variety of criteria, including endocrine activity, toxicity, recyclability and functionality. Our goal is to help our customers avoid endocrine active materials in products and packaging where functional alternatives exist.

We are staying on top of the latest academic research regarding the endocrine activity of substances present in plastics, including BPA. When appropriate, we have stopped the sale of certain products and/or provided information to our customers about the products. For example, as of January 2006 we stopped selling baby bottles and child drinking cups made from polycarbonate plastic or other plastics with added phthalates because of the emerging scientific evidence on their risk.

We have begun the process of examining the plastic packaging materials we use to package foods in our stores, and are working with a leading testing firm to design a laboratory test to accurately assess the endocrine activity of these materials. We will continue to search for the safest and most functional packaging materials for our stores.

Some of the canned products sold in our stores may have small amounts of bisphenol-a in the lining material. We are actively assessing the safety of the packaging materials used in our stores, as we are committed to helping our customers protect themselves and their families and as such are concerned about the growing body of research which connects BPA and other estrogenic compounds to certain health effects. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that such materials are appropriate and safe, we are currently evaluating certain products and packaging materials on a variety of criteria, including endocrine activity, toxicity, recyclability and functionality. Our goal is to help our customers avoid endocrine active materials in products and packaging where functional alternatives exist.

We are staying on top of the latest academic research regarding the endocrine activity of substances present in plastics, including BPA. When appropriate, we have stopped the sale of certain products and/or provided information to our customers about the products. For example, as of January 2006 we stopped selling baby bottles and child drinking cups made from polycarbonate plastic or other plastics with added phthalates because of the emerging scientific evidence on their risk.

We have begun the process of examining the plastic packaging materials we use to package foods in our stores, and are working with a leading testing firm to design a laboratory test to accurately assess the endocrine activity of these materials. We will continue to search for the safest and most functional packaging materials for our stores.

Jason Hays

Guest Services Content Administrator, Private Label

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  • Canned Foods Contain Bisphenol-A (BPA)

    Someone asked about the safety of individual applesauces, fruit bowls and canned food in the comments of my original article on bisphenol-a. I did not go much into detail about how it relates to canned foods, so thought I would make a post out of my response to her. 

    I called Dole several months ago asking about their #7 containers used for their plastic jarred foods and the little fruit bowls. They DO contain bisphenol A. I had several of these and I returned the ones I had not opened and stopped feeding what I had to my daughter.  As far as Dole’s canned foods, they said all their cans are made of tin and are not lined with plastic.

    Del Monte cans however ARE lined with an enamel containing BPA. I had to ask him several times and finally got it out of him and then he immediately got all defensive about it. Obviously they have had many calls about this. I asked if there were any plans to change this and he said “No, the USDA, FDA, etc. all approve the lining.” I said they recall items all the time and so I trust the independent research that shows BPA is dangerous and that I would be looking for another product line for my canned foods. I have sometimes use their corn and green beans for cooking, but will no longer.

    I always avoid anything with #7 and anything that is a hard, clear plastic. I would rather be on the safe side. Many people do not worry about BPA, but I do because there are so many other things to worry about like chemicals in shampoos, pesticides on food, antibiotics in meat… If it is something I can easily control, I do it, it’s a simple. It’s easy now to find healthier alternatives. If ever you are concerned, just call the 800# on the package and ask for a direct answer. If the person does not know, kindly ask them if they could find out. If they say the product does contain bisphenol A, ask if there are plans to change it and make it safe. If not, make the request for them to do so and tell them you are not going to purchase any more of their products until there is a change. Many will also say “Our research shows polycarbonate is safe.” Obviously there is enough independent research that proves this is not true.

    There are much safer alternative products. For example, Motts, Whole Foods and Earth’s Best all make applesauce containers with #1, #2 or #5 plastic. I am sure there are others. UPDATE: Mott’s (and possible all single serve applesauce) also come in #7 polycarbonate containers. I just called Mott’s and they confirmed they do use polycarbonate for some applesauce containers, but that #1 is also used. Mott’s maintains the FDA says #7 is safe, but we know better, don’t we! So, my advice is to either avoid Mott’s (and possibly all single serve applesauce and fruit) or check the bottom each and every time you make a purchase to make sure you are not selecting a #7 container. Sure is frustrating, but hopefully the FDA will come to their senses soon and ban this toxic substance.

    I have not seen any fruit bowls though that are not #7. I have gone to almost all fresh organic fruit, but on the extremely rare occassion I don’t, I use regular canned fruit and veggies (tin containers!). But so much fresh or frozen organic options are available, that canned fruits and veggies just really are not a necessity. Now, I may pull out a can maybe once a month. I no longer used canned tomatoes — i use fresh or do without. I just realized that this was a simple change and really has not had a big impact on our lifestyle.

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  • Pregnant women told to avoid BPA
  • Today Show report on BPA & plastic safety
  • BPA may lead to health problems such as obesity and ADD/ADHD
  • Whole Foods private label canned food contain BPA
  • BPA is found in infant formula
  • Gerber baby food containers
  • BPA and other plastic safety
  • Z Recommends: The Z Report on BPA In Infant Care Products, Third Edition
  • Environmental Working Group: Guide to Baby Safe Bottles & Formula
  • Environmental Working Groups Report on BPA in Baby Formula
  • Breastmilk contains stem cells
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