Often while I’m grocery shopping or doing pantry makeovers with clients, they are taken back when I bring up BPA in cans. While they believe that they are doing good by having canned vegetables or canned black beans, they are shocked when I inform them about the harmful effects of BPA that is often found in many canned items…even organic.
What is BPA?
BPA stands for bisphenol A. It is an industrial chemical that is used to make certain plastics and resins. It is often used and found in water bottles, baby bottles, cups, toys, food cans, baby formula cans, bottle tops, water supply lines, dental sealants, and thermal paper products (cash register receipts).
What’s the Problem?
According to the National Toxicology Program at the Department of Health and Human Services, BPA places some concern about the possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children. The Food and Drug Administration now recognizes this same concern and is seeking ways to reduce human exposure. It is believed to be an endocrine disruptor which can mimic estrogen and may lead to negative health effects.
The Environmental Working Group estimates that BPA exposure is ‘unsafe’ in 11 percent of all canned food and one-third of all infant formula. When BPA was detected, the EWG found a single serving contained enough BPA to expose a woman or infant to levels more than 200 times the government’s safe level of exposure for industrial chemicals.
In 2010, The National Work Group for Safe markets conducted the study ‘No Silver Lining’ that tested 50 cans 50 cans collected from 19 US states and Ontario, Canada for BPA contamination. Over 90% of the cans tested had detectable levels of BPA. The study’s tests show that meals involving one or more cans of food can “cause a pregnant woman to ingest levels of BPA that have been shown to cause health effects in developing fetuses in laboratory animal studies.” Wow!
What Do I Buy?
While I recommend fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes, I realize that for some it’s just not logical. Buying Organic is always what I recommend, but some Organic brands still have BPA in their canned foods. Always look for a BPA free label! Here is a list of BPA Free items that we acquired from the folks at Inspiration Green.
Eden Foods: All 33 of its organic beans, chili, rice & beans, refried, and flavored.
Trader Joe’s Brand: Canned corn, tomatoes, beans (except baked beans), tunafish, anchovies, poultry, beef, coconut milk, fruit (except mandarins) and vegetables (except artichokes).
Hunt’s Tomato Products: Plain tomatoes only.
Whole Foods: 27% of its store-brand canned goods. No specifics given!*
Amy’s: All products!
Muir Glen: Canned tomato products only.
Native Forest: Organic coconut milk, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, hearts of palm and all of their canned fruits.
Oregon’s Choice: Canned Tuna.
Wild Planet: Canned Sardines and 5 oz tuna.
Nature’s One: Organic powdered baby milks.
Eden Foods: Canned tomato products (They now have glass jars for some tomato products)
Trader Joe’s Brand: All soups, chilis and stews. Plus; Sardines, Crab, Cherrystone Clams & Oysters, Mandarins, Hatch Chilies, Artichokes, Organic Baked Beans.
Whole Foods: 73% of its store-brand canned goods.
Annie’s, Brad’s, Muir Glen, Westbrae cans are lined with BPA.
A good thing to remember is that most all Aluminum Cans are lined with BPA. If you’re unsure, check manufacturers websites and read labels. I also suggest shopping at a grocery store you trust. Healthy Home Market in the Greater Charlotte area is where I find most of my BPA free items. They also carry fresh, local produce and bulk items, such as legumes, that makes it easier to avoid aluminum cans.