BPA (bisphenol A) in Canned Goods (the horror, even Annie’s)

Today as I looked in my pantry, and saw the Annie’s Spaghettios and the soups, I wondered again how much BPA I am feeding my family. I picked up the phone, and called Annie’s, Inc., a company who I support endlessly by buying their macaroni and cheese, other pastas, and yes, canned foods. I try, I really do, but there are days with two kids, and not much of an affection for cooking (to say the least), where I just need to open a can. I think, at least it is organic.

So I called and a cheerful woman told me that their cans do have BPA, and that they do not exceed the FDA’s standards on BPA in cans. After some thought, this statement didn’t impress me too much. The FDA’s limits don’t take into account research about low doses of BPA that came out in the 1990s, which are discussed in this article on the Organic Consumers Association website, first printed in Terrain Magazine.

She did tell me, however, that they are working hard to find an alternative to BPA linings. Okay. So we wait. But something about the above referenced article really stuck with me. Here it is:

“In 1997, it was discovered that low levels of BPA produced harmful effects in male mice exposed in the womb, enlarging the prostate and lowering sperm count. What was most unexpected-and alarming-was that low-dose experiments produced worse effects in the mice than high-dose. Since then, nearly a hundred studies have shown BPA to be toxic in low doses on animals, producing such effects as insulin resistance, damaged DNA, miscarriage, decreased testosterone levels, early puberty, and the production of breast cancer and prostate cancer precursor cells.

Other tests suggest that some people, due to specific genetic makeup, may have a harder time ridding BPA from their bodies, which could make them more susceptible to BPA’s toxic effects. These effects are most dangerous to pregnant women, babies, and young children. For example, in one Japanese study, women who had frequent miscarriages were found to have higher levels of BPA in their bloodstream than women who could carry pregnancies to term. In general, the hormone-unbalancing effects of BPA are not diagnosable as BPA exposure; rather, they may show up as early onset of puberty, reduced fertility, type II diabetes, and an increased risk of cancer. The rise of cancer rates over the last few decades is correlated with the increased use of BPA in industry, although cause and effect is difficult to prove since BPA joins a long list of possible culprits.”

I added the bold, because I have never read an article about this (and I have read many) that said this so clearly. If there was ever a reason for us as a nation to prescribe to a precautionary principal when dealing with chemicals in our kids’ bodies, this is it.

So, Annie’s, and other organic food companies, please get to it. I want to support you, and feed my kids convenient, healthy food. I can’t cook from scratch all the time, I will go insane. My patience is thin and our kids’ bodies are at risk.

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