Bisphenol A (BPA) is a common environmental toxin which I have mentioned before, that often appears in plastic bottles. BPA can disrupt the way hormones carry signals in our body and for that reason it is known as a "endocrine disruptor." Because we only need a few hormone molecules to send signals in our bodies, endocrine disruptors are able to interrupt healthy signals at very low concentrations — in fact even a few parts per trillion of BPA has been shown to disrupt normal endocrine signaling that can lead to health problems.
The following are health impacts that have been linked to low level exposure to BPA in either animals or humans:
-Low sperm count
-Damage to developing eggs
-Placental cell death
-Changes in brain development
-Predisposition to breast and prostate cancer.
A new report called No Silver Lining — An Investigation into Bisphenol A in Canned foods has recently been released by the National Workgroup for Safe Markets which is a coalition of US public health and environmental health focused NGOs.
This report reviews the data on BPA. It points out that Canada,Denmark and five US states have already restricted the use of BPA in certain children's products like baby bottles and infant formula can linings.
In this report that Workgroup was looking at the amount of BPA that could be consumed from eating canned food and drinks that are commonly available in the United States and Canada. For this study they collected and tested the food and beverage contents of 50 cans that were collected from 19 United States and Ontario, Canada.
The report finds that BPA is a routine contaminant in canned foods. They specifically looked at the potential exposure to BPA from meals that are prepared with canned food and drink that an ordinary American person might consume over the course of the day.
The authors of the report found 20 people from 19 different states and Ontario, Canada. and asked them to donate 50 food and beverage containers from their home cupboards and from local groceries. A wide variety of products was selected including fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, soups, tomato products, sodas and milks, which are commonly eaten foods.
The results of the study showed that BPA was detected in 46 of 50, or 92%, of the canned food samples. They also found that there was no relationship between the age of the product and the amount of BPA in the food.
BPA exposure is especially of concern for pregnant women and babies and children. For that reason the authors looked at how much BPA a typical pregnant woman would ingest in a day from a typical diet. They found that from eating the foods on that diet, a pregnant woman could easily raise her BPA intake to levels that are known to cause health problems in animals.
The authors point out that they were only looking at one source of BPA exposure — canned foods. They point out that other routes of exposure to BPA include air, dust, and water along with common products like polycarbonate water and baby bottles, 5 gallon water coolers, and printer inks, toners and even thermal receipt paper.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found BPA in the urine of 93% of the United States population. In addition, the Environmental Working Group found BPA in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies as I have reported before.
I urge you to download this report and review it for yourself. Please try to minimize your exposure to canned foods and exposure to water bottles and other containers that have BPA. I see many of my patients walking in with plastic bottles now which have stamped right on the plastic "This product contains no BPA". Hopefully soon we will be able to say that about our canned foods as well.
Please let me know what you think. Do you check to be sure your bottles do not have BPA? Have you heard any other reports or information about BPA that are worth sharing? I look forward to being in dialogue with you about this.