Study: Canned foods cause elevated BPA levels

Harvard School of Public Health study recommends cutting down on the amount of canned food you eat

Daily canned food consumption can cause soaring levels of the compound bisphenol A (BPA) in the body, according to a recent study.

Seventy-five participants, with a median age of 27, were asked to eat soup for lunch. Researchers instructed one group of individuals to eat canned soup for for lunch for five days while the other group was to eat fresh soup. They then urine-tested both groups and the results were dramatic. Those who ate fresh soup had 1.1 micrograms per liter of urine, but subjects that consumed canned soup had a whopping 20.8 micrograms. That amounts to 1221% more BPA in the body.

According to lead Harvard researcher, Karin Michels, “To see an increase in this magnitude was quite surprising.”

Canned foods such as soups cause a spike in BPA levels in the body and are responsible for a host of health ailments. Photo via Wikipedia Commons

Levels detected in the study “are among the most extreme reported in a nonoccupational setting,” says the study. Typically, levels of 1 to 2 micrograms are found in the general population, Michels said.

This is the first study that has directly measured the cause and effect of eating canned foods and the amount of BPA that collects in the body. “We are concerned about the influence of [hormone-disrupting] chemicals on health in general, and BPA is one of them,” Michels explained.

A doctoral student  and fellow researcher, Jenny Carwile says, “We’ve known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body. This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use.”

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical used to make most plastic and is known to mimic estrogen in the body.  These female sex hormones are found in vertebrates and some insects and are thought to be part of our ancient evolutionary history. Estrogens play a critical role in both female and male mental health.  Altered levels in males have been found to contribute to the development of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Prenatal exposure to BPA has also been found to cause neurological deficiencies later in life.  BPA plastics have also been linked to ADHD, addictive behavior, diabetes, thyroid function, reproductive issues and some cancers.

There have been many studies on the effects of BPA. Earlier this year, research relieved that the chemical made male mice less sexually attractive to female mice. Another shows how BPA during pregnancy can cause behavior problems in girls.

BPA has long been a source of aggravation for parents, as it can be found in virtually everything, from food packaging, baby toys and products to more obscure places such as store receipts and dental sealants.

Here are some ways to avoid BPA in your house hold:

  • Buy frozen veggies or dry beans in lieu of canned
  • Look for children’s products labeled ‘BPA free’
  • Avoid handling store receipts or tell the clerk you do not need a receipt
  • Decline dental sealants for your children
  • Avoid bottled water, if possible filter your own or use vended water kiosks. Always avoid #7 plastics (number found on the bottom of the container)
  • Buy powdered baby formula versus liquid
  • Other ways to detox Thanksgiving from WebMD