Graphic courtesy Breast Cancer Fund.
Food packaging is a big source of our overall exposure to endocrine disruptor Bisphenol A, according to a peer-review study to be published in Environmental Health Perspectives. It's hard to make a steady scapegoat of Bisphenol A -- and many other chemicals -- because pinning down exactly where it comes from and exactly its effects are hard to do. Now EHP's study - funded by the Passport Foundation and the Silent Spring Institute -- tackles at least part of that problem, finding afer a study of five San Francisco families that a large portion of our BPA exposure is from food packaging.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high-production volume industrial chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate and other plastic products and epoxy resin-based food can liners. Exposure is widespread, with detectable levels in urine samples from over 90% of the US population. - Environmental Health Perspectives study
The researchers set out to see how removal of BPA from packaged foods would effect subjects' levels. They tested the urine of the five families for two consecutive days, put them on a three-day "low BPA" diet of fresh organic foods, tested them during the diet, and re-tested them when they returned to their regular foods.
The results were interesting: BPA levels in family members dropped an average of 60 percent when they switched to the diet of freshly prepared foods low in packaging. When the families returned to their normal diets, their BPA returned to initial levels.
What to deduce from the findings? The researchers suggests that a large portion of the BPA in our bodies is coming from packaging, either packaged foods we eat at home or foods we consume in restaurants. EHP believes that we can all reduce our exposure by eating more fresh organic foods, and that getting BPA out of packaging would decrease exposure significantly.
Of course, the study doesn't show what effect the BPA from packaging has, but the available research has led the Breast Cancer Fund and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass) to reintroduce a bill to ban BPA from all food and beverage containers.
In the meantime, Silent Spring Institute and Breast Cancer Fund prepared a list of the canned foods that have the highest levels of BPA. Since that pretty much includes all the major foods people buy in cans, it would be good to know about the number of food manufacturers already offering BPA-free liners in their cans.
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More about Bisphenol A:
7 Companies You Can Trust to Use BPA Free Cans
BPA Danger May Be Greater From Tin Cans Than From Water Bottles
SIGG Bottles Now BPA Free. But What Were They Before?
The New Yorker On Bisphenol A: How Bad Is It?