Earlier this week, environmental groups announced that the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, can be found in almost all cans of food in the US food supply.
BPA, a known endocrine disruptor with the potential to affect the body’s hormone levels, are particularly dangerous for babies and pregnant women. It can be found in many plastics, including those used to make plastic water bottles and until recently, most baby bottles. It’s also in the thin plastic lining of food cans.
BPA has come under particular scrutiny lately for its potential to negatively affect the neurological development of infants and young children. For this reason, France and Canada recently banned the use of BPA altogether in baby bottles.
Back in 1963, the FDA declared [BPA] safe, but more recently, there’s been a scientific reappraisal. The National Toxicology Program now says there is "some concern" for BPA’s effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland, in developing fetuses, infants and children. In January, the FDA posted guidelines urging parents to minimize infants’ exposure through bottles and feeding cups, but it stopped short of saying there is a definite risk of harm.
A coalition calling itself “The National Workgroup for Safe Markets” conducted laboratory tests on 50 samples of canned food, purchased in stores or donated from home pantries in 19 U.S. states and Canada. Of the 50, 46 contained at least some BPA. The median level was 35 parts per billion, but some food had much more, as high as 1,140 parts per billion in a can of Del Monte green beans.
Pete Myers, a biologist who has studied the effects of BPA, says the level of in baby bottles that triggered alarm, was less than 30 parts per billion, lower than the numbers reported Tuesday about canned food.
Myers says that…BPA may suppress the production of a hormone – adiponectin – that protects against heart disease. His biggest worry involves a pregnant woman who ingests BPA and passes it on to her developing fetus. “There are some indications it may concentrate in the fetus. It’s definitely not something the fetus is protected from,” says Myers. –CNN
Please don’t wait for the FDA to take a definitive stand on this issue before taking steps to protect your family from this harmful chemical. Avoid canned foods whenever possible (choose fresh or frozen produce instead); do not drink from plastic water bottles and make sure that any bottles you’re giving to infants or children are labeled “BPA-free.”