A coalition of public interest organizations has issued a report, “No Silver Lining, An Investigation into Bisphenol A in Canned Foods,” that purportedly detected levels of the chemical in more than 90 percent of the cans from consumers’ shelves that were tested. While the highest levels of BPA, at 1,140 parts per billion (ppb), were apparently found in a can of green beans from a residential pantry in Wisconsin, average levels were 77.36 ppb. According to the report, a pregnant woman of average build consuming several canned food and beverage products in a single day could ingest as much as 138.19 μg of BPA, or 1.94 μg/kg body weight.
Outlining the scientific research purportedly linking BPA exposure to a number of negative health impacts, including obesity, low sperm count, miscarriage, placental cell death, infertility, heart disease, and changes in brain development, the report contends that levels of just 1 or 2 μg/kg body weight exposure have resulted in observed health effects in laboratory studies.
The report, published by the National Workgroup for Safe Markets, calls on manufacturers to identify and begin using replacements for BPA in their canned products, noting that some companies have already done so. It also calls for Congress to ban the chemical in food and drink containers and to “strengthen and pass the Safe Chemicals Act.” The coalition urges consumers to “opt for fresh foods whenever possible followed by frozen or dried foods, and when packaged foods are needed, choose glass, aseptic packages, or less toxic plastic containers when possible.”
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) reportedly responded to the report by stating that it ignores evidence showing that BPA is safe and that regulatory agencies around the world have affirmed the chemical’s safety. A spokesperson was quoted as saying that “no replacement for BPA . . . will work across the board for all foods. The performance of any technology that could impact the safety of food or beverages must be proven over the entire shelf life of the product before it can be used.” GMA noted that the Food and Drug Administration is currently updating its BPA safety assessment welcomed its review, saying that it “will add to the already robust catalog of scientific evidence on BPA.” See USA Today and Supermarket News, May18, 2010.