[Pharmwaste] Consumer Reports finds controversial chemical (bisphenol A) in nearly all canned foods it tested

DeBiasi,Deborah Deborah.DeBiasi at deq.virginia.gov
Tue Nov 3 10:54:37 EST 2009


Study cites prevalence of BPA

Consumer Reports finds controversial chemical in nearly all canned foods
it tested
By Meg Kissinger of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Nov. 2, 2009

A new test conducted for Consumer Reports magazine found bisphenol A
leaching into food from nearly all cans, including those marked
"BPA-free" and "organic."

The magazine's tests found that levels of the chemical in many of the
cans were comparable to those found to cause cell damage and behavioral
effects in animal studies.

The results, which are to be published Tuesday in the magazine's
December issue, echo those found last year in tests conducted by the
Journal Sentinel.

Urvashi Rangan, director of technical policy for the Consumers Union,
the organization that publishes the magazine, said she got the idea for
the tests from the Journal Sentinel article.

Rangan said both tests prove that consumers can't know by looking at the
can how much BPA is in the food that they are buying.

"This shows that our canned food market needs a closer look," Rangan

Rangan and the Consumers Union have written a letter to the director of
the Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to ban BPA in food
and beverage contact items. The group has long favored a ban, but the
test has bolstered its case.

Last year, the FDA declared the chemical to be safe for all use. But a
few months later, a federal panel found that the agency erred in its
assessment by considering only two studies, both of which were paid for
by the American Chemistry Council, a lobby group for BPA-makers.

The FDA is expected to come out with a new assessment by the end of the

The Consumer Reports study was immediately criticized by the American
Chemistry Council, which represents BPA-makers, for being inconsistent
with findings of regulatory bodies all over the world, including the FDA
and its initial assessment.

"Eleven global regulatory bodies - including the European Food Safety
Authority and Health Canada - have recently completed scientific
evaluations and found BPA safe in food-contact products, including
canned foods and beverages," said Steven Hentges, the group's chief

He noted that a study funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
and published last week in the journal Toxicological Sciences found that
exposure to BPA - including very low doses - had no effects on a range
of reproductive and behavioral activities measured.

BPA free?
Until now, the focus of BPA in food products has been on baby bottles
and children's cups. But the tests by the newspaper and magazine show
BPA can leach from cans marked as "BPA-free."

Consumer Reports, which used a different testing lab than the Journal
Sentinel did, looked at 19 brand-name foods.

Canned Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans Blue Lake had the highest amount
of BPA for a single sample. High levels were also found in Progresso
Vegetable Soup and Campbell's Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup.

The magazine tested items such as canned corn, chili, tomato sauce and
corned beef, and found BPA levels varied widely, but some BPA was found
in nearly all of them.

"These findings are noteworthy because they indicate the extent of
potential exposure," Rangan said. "Children eating multiple servings per
day of canned foods with BPA levels comparable to the ones we found in
some tested products could get a dose of BPA near levels that have
caused adverse effects in several animal studies."

Linked to disease
BPA, used to make hard, clear plastic, is found in thousands of
household products, including bottled water, water pipes, eyeglasses and
some dental sealants. It is found in the urine of 93% of Americans

Hundreds of scientific studies over the past several years have found it
to cause cellular change in animals that can lead to breast and prostate
cancers and behavioral problems. Human data has linked BPA to heart
disease and diabetes, and it has been found to interfere with
chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Last week, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
announced it will spend roughly $30 million over the next two years
studying BPA. That includes $14 million from the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act, or stimulus funds.

Canada banned BPA last year. Earlier this year, New York's Long Island,
the city of Chicago, Minnesota and Connecticut banned BPA from baby
bottles. Massachusetts issued a health advisory warning pregnant women
and young children to avoid the chemical.

Wisconsin lawmakers have proposed a ban. A committee hearing on the bill
is scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 10.

Deborah L. DeBiasi 
Email:   Deborah.DeBiasi at deq.virginia.gov (NEW!)
WEB site address:  www.deq.virginia.gov 
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality 
Office of Water Permit Programs 
Industrial Pretreatment/Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) Program 
PPCPs, EDCs, and Microconstituents
Mail:          P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA  23218 
Location:  629 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA  23219 
PH:         804-698-4028 
FAX:      804-698-4032 

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