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Toxic bisphenol A found in canned food

Consumer Reports' test fuels efforts to ban chemical in food and beverage containers

Contact: Shannon Coughlin, Breast Cancer Fund, 415-336-2246,

SAN FRANCISCO–Consumer Reports magazine tested a wide range of canned food for its December 2009 issue and found bisphenol A in almost all of the foods. Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to breast cancer and other serious health problems, and is used in the lining of food cans. The Breast Cancer Fund joins Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) and environmental health organizations in calling for a ban on BPA in food and drink containers.

“The report results are sobering, and confirm what we already know: Americans are exposed to BPA every day through canned foods,” said Janet Nudelman, program and policy director at the Breast Cancer Fund. “A synthetic estrogen linked to breast cancer should not be in our food, period. It’s well past time to ban BPA from food and beverage containers.”

Nearly every American has detectable levels of BPA in their bodies, and the recent tests offer new evidence that a main route of BPA exposure is through the leaching of BPA from food and beverage containers. Once in food, BPA moves quickly into the body. Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies are still developing.

There is mounting scientific evidence that exposure to even extremely low levels of BPA can impact health. More than 200 scientific studies show that BPA exposure, particularly during early infancy, is associated with a wide range of adverse health effects in later life. In addition to breast cancer, BPA has been linked to prostate cancer, birth defects, infertility in men, early puberty in girls, diabetes and obesity.

The compelling science has led to a flurry of legislative activity. Minnesota, Connecticut, Chicago and three New York counties have passed legislation banning BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, and 26 other states and municipalities and the U.S. Congress are considering similar legislation.

In the marketplace, chemical manufacturer Sunoco announced it will sell BPA only to companies that guarantee the chemical will not be used to make children’s food and water containers. Leading infant formula companies are beginning to use BPA-free packaging, six baby bottle manufacturers have pledged to stop using the chemical, and retailers including CVS, Kmart, Safeway, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart have announced they will stop selling BPA-containing baby bottles. Still, many BPA-containing products, including canned foods, remain on store shelves.

“Right now, there is legislation before Congress to ban BPA in food and beverage containers. Also, the FDA is reassessing the chemical’s safety and could enact a ban,” said Nudelman. “Our message to Congress and to the FDA is clear: We can’t wait any longer to protect our health from this toxic chemical.”

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