A new report released this week from the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute has revealed that exposure to BPA (Bisphenol A) through canned food and other types of food packaging can be greatly decreased just by making a few easy changes in your diet.
BPA is commonly used in clear shatterproof plastics like baby bottles and food storage containers. It is also used in metal food cans as a liner. Studies have already shown that BPA can leak from cans and plastic and into foods. Some studies have associated BPA and phthalates like DEHP to infertility, cancer and heart disease. However, the debate remains as to what levels of these chemicals are considered dangerous. BPA exposure in other studies have been associated to breast and prostate cancer, ADHD, obesity and early puberty in girls. American’s have 93% of detectable BPA levels in their bodies according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
The study had tracked five Bay Area families for eight days in January 2010. Urine samples were collected from all family members after each person ate normally. The families in the study had four family members each an adult male and female, and two children between the ages of three and eleven. Each family consumed meals prepared outside the home which had included canned foods, canned sodas, frozen dinners and foods microwaved in plastic containers.
The families then had been changed over to a modified diet for three days of fresh organic meals and snacks. These meals were prepared and delivered by a caterer in which did not use any foods packaged in plastic or cans. Meals were in glass or stainless steel containers. Urine sample collections from the families were done during the diet change and afterward when they went back to consuming food as normal. The levels of urinary BPA levels had reduced by over 60% on average over three days of changing diets to one with minimal canned foods or plastic packaging.
Dr. Janet Gray, Ph. D, director of the Program in Science, Technology and Society at Vassar College and science adviser to the Breast Cancer Fund has stated one of the main sources of BPA is believed to be food packaging. There have been no studies that directly observe people consuming their normal diet and then stop consuming foods in BPA product containers. Dr. Gray is also co-author of this study.
The study titled “Food Packaging and Bisphenol A”, a peer reviewed study has been published in the journal of Environmental Health Perspectives.
Dr. Gray states they wished to ask “Could we have fairly simple changes in people’s lives, both adults and children, that would alter their exposure and body burden of BPA?”
The important find of the study revealed that when switching to fresh foods BPA levels reduce at a fast rate.
The other side of the coin to this study is a response concerning its findings from the American Chemistry Council. In short they note that the study just confirms the points that consumer have very small exposure to BPA and DEHA from food sources. That those substances do not remain in the body very long and are rapidly removed through natural means. Also, that the date from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention with Canada Health have revealed that the average consumer exposure to BPA and DEHA from all sources, is up to 1,000 times less than the government established safe exposure levels.
The Silver Spring Institute offers six easy steps to reducing exposure and playing it safe:
Fresh is best
In all practical purposes you cannot avoid food packaging totally. Choose fresh or frozen over cans as much as you can.
Eat at home
Studies have shown that people who consume meals that were prepared outside the home have higher levels of BPA. To lessen exposure rate, cook meals at home using fresh ingredients. When dinning out choose restaurants that use fresh ingredients.
Try avoiding plastics and store foods in glass or stainless steel containers.
Do not microwave in plastic
Temperatures which are warmer add to the rate of chemicals that leak into food and drinks. Use ceramic or heat resistant glass containers when microwaving.
Brew the old fashioned way
Automatic coffee makers could contain BPA and phthalates in the plastic containers or tubing. When brewing coffee consider using a French Press which does not contain BPA.
Every person can take measures to decrease their own exposure. You can join others to call for healthier food packaging for everyone. The Breast Cancer Fund and Safer Chemicals, Health Families are leading national efforts to remove chemicals of concern out of food packaging and other products.
List of ten canned foods to avoid in order to decrease exposure
Meals (such as canned pasta in sauce)
Milk replacement drinks
Silver Spring Institute