Friday, June 8, 2012

BPA in Canned Food

In recent years, alarming news about Bisphenol-A (BPA) has lead many consumers to look for alternatives to plastic waterbottles, tupperware, and even children’s toys.  BPA is an industrial chemical used in the production of most synthetic plastics, and has been seen to mimic the body’s natural hormones, classifying it as an endocrine disruptor.  In particular, BPA mimics estrogen, which is cause for concern in cancer, infertility, weight gain, altered immune function, early puberty, behavioral disorders, heart disease, diabetes, and liver toxicity.  In October 2010, the Canadian government added BPA to Canada’s list of toxic substances.

A less acknowledged but highly important source of BPA to be aware of is canned food; the liner present inside cans contains BPA.  Although manufacturing costs for BPA-free cans are 2.2 cents higher than that of cans containing BPA, some companies have made the choice to go without.

In the search for BPA-free canned food, examples of brands to choose include Eden Organics (canned beans) and Vital Choice (canned fish).  This article contains the full list, and is informative for how to make decisions at the grocery store: 7 Companies You Can Trust to Use BPA-Free Cans

While it is important to choose BPA-free cans when buying canned food, it is also important to keep in mind that all canned items are still processed.  Canned foods tend to contain high levels of sodium and lower levels of nutrients compared to their fresh counterparts.  To get the most nutrition out of your food, it is important to be mindful about consuming freshly prepared foods more often.  Check back soon for tips on preparing different varieties of cooked beans for using in all your favorite bean salad and chili recipes!




  1. I've heard to look out for BPA in cash register receipts, but I find it difficult to imagine how a poisonous substance could get into my body, given the brief peripheral contact of my fingers with the receipt. Any research showing harmful effects of touching BPA-paper for 5 seconds?

    1. A great point to mention! I was curious also, so I checked with Environmental Working Group ( Here's what their stance is, based on preliminary research:

      'A study published [in July 2010] by Swiss scientists found that BPA transfers readily from receipts to skin and can penetrate the skin to such a depth that it cannot be washed off. This raises the possibility that the chemical infiltrates the skin's lower layers to enter the bloodstream directly. BPA has also been shown to penetrate skin in laboratory studies.'

      You can access the paper here:

      Ultimately, like most things, it depends on the dose. Environmental Working Group (EWG) offers suggestions to decrease your exposure to BPA. Read more about their stance here: