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The study, carried out by 6 US NGOs, gives an idea of the wide exposure of the population to the hormonal pollutant BPA, finding it in two thirds of the 200 cans of different products analyzed, such as soups, vegetables, fruits or milk analyzed.
This research brings out the colors of famous brands such as Campbell's, which continues to use BPA in 100% of its cans, despite announcing its intention to remove it from its products in 2012 (the company has again announced that it will remove BPA to the year 2017, after the presentation of this report, although only in the US market). It also provides information to consumers about other brands, such as ConAgra, that have completely removed Bisphenol-A from their packaging.
Remember that Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a hormonal pollutant or endocrine disruptor, that is, it affects the hormonal system. Numerous studies link BPA to such severe effects as breast and prostate cancer, infertility, type 2 diabetes, obesity, asthma, and attention deficit disorder. These effects occur at very low concentrations and are of particular concern in the uterine development stages and in the first years of a person's life.
BPA has been used for more than 50 years in epoxy resin coatings for canning cans, to protect metal from corrosion and as a preservative. But it has begun to be replaced since numerous studies have shown how BPA is released from this layer and passes into food, and from there to humans.
What about the alternatives?
The study shows that many companies have removed BPA from their canning cans, although that does not mean that the packaging is healthy.
Some companies are using alternative materials to BPA, such as acrylic resins and oleoresins that may be safe alternatives, but still require more research. Other companies analyzed are using unsafe materials as substitutes for BPA. Such is the case of the new PVC coatings, which contain the carcinogen vinyl chloride and phthalates, or the polystyrene and acrylic coatings, of concern because styrene is also a possible carcinogen.
What can we consumers do?
Demand information about the products. Consumers have the right to know not only what products we eat, their origin, treatment or if they contain transgenics. We also have the right to be informed of what type of materials are used in packaging and if they can generate any health risk.
The study's recommendation is clear: buy fresh or frozen products. When choosing a type of container, given the lack of current information, it recommends glass containers over cans. And only buy canned food in cases where the producers fully disclose the type and safety of coating used.
What is Europe doing about Bisphenol-A?
Bisphenol-A is one of the hormonal pollutants best known by the European population, after the concern caused by its presence in baby bottles and toys, which was banned in 2011.
Currently, the possibility of eliminating this endocrine disruptor from food contact materials is being discussed at a European level (see news), imitating what France already did in 2015.
If the BPA ban goes ahead in Europe, consumers will avoid their exposure in food, but we will have to continue to demand that safe alternatives be used.
Free of Hormonal Contaminants