NB–This report was published in 2009. Please adjust references to “this year,” “next year,” etc., accordingly.
Almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested by Consumer Reports contained measurable amounts of bisphenol A (BPA), even some products labeled “BPA Free” or “Organic.”
Dr Urvashi Rangan, Director of Technical Policy at Consumers Union, (CU) the non-profit company publishing Consumer Reports, said, “The findings are noteworthy because they indicate the extent of potential exposure. 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. The lack of any safety margin between the levels that cause harm in animals and those that people could potentially ingest from canned foods has been inadequately addressed by the FDA to date.”
BPA is linked to a wide array of health effects, including reproductive abnormalities, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.
Consumers Union previously urged manufacturers and government agencies to eliminate the use of BPA in all materials that come in contact with food and beverages. Given CR’s latest findings, CU sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg reiterating its request that the agency act this year to ban the use of BPA when it comes in contact with foods.
Results from Consumers Report’s testing for BPA:
Canned Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans Blue Lake had the highest amount of BPA for a single sample in Consumers Report’s tests, with levels ranging from 35.9 parts per billion (ppb) to 191 ppb.
Progresso Vegetable Soup BPA levels ranged from 67-134ppb. (When Harvard tested the blood of persons having eaten Progresso soups, their BPA levels spiked.)
Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup had BPA levels ranging from 54.5-102 ppb.
Average amounts in tested products varied a great deal. In most items, such as canned corn, chili, tomato sauce and corned beef, BPA levels varied from trace amounts to about 32 ppb.
Surprisingly, Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli in Tomato and Meat Sauce packaged in a plastic container with a metal peel-off lid measured BPA levels 1.5 times higher than the same brand of food in metal cans.
Similac Advance Infant Formula (liquid concentrate) BPA averaged 9.7 ppb.; the same product in powder form had no measurable value of BPA.
Nestle Juicy Juice All Natural 100% Apple Juice tested at 9.7 ppb; the same product in juice boxes had no measurable value of BPA.
From the report: “An FDA special scientific advisory panel reported in late 2008 that the agency’s basis for setting safety standards to protect consumers was inadequate and should be reevaluated. A congressional subcommittee determined in 2009 that the agency relied too heavily on studies sponsored by the American Plastics Council. . . . . Bills are currently pending in Congress that would ban the use of BPA in all food and beverage containers. Industry has been waging a fight against new regulations.”
My Take on the report: Campbell soups recently decided to discontinue using packaging containing BPA. Yay!!
Sadly, the US FDA ruled in May, 2012 that it had “insufficient scientific evidence” to warrant restricting the present levels of BPA in canned goods, though the chemical was developed as a synthetic estrogen and has hormone-mimicking properties.
What part of widely accessible synthetic estrogen don’t they get? Boo!!
At any rate, we’re on our own.
One thing we can do is to sign a petition circulated by Change.org demanding that Progresso remove BPA from the cans it uses for its foods.
Please consider helping to protect us, the consumers, by going to
from Consumer Reports November 02, 2009 Full results are reported in the December 2009 issue and are available free online at www.ConsumerReports.org