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Report: Many packaged foods contain BPA

November 3, 2009 12:49:39 AM PST
Consumer Reports tested several canned and other packaged foods and found that many contain measurable levels of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that has been linked to health problems.BPA is a chemical building block used in protective liners and plastic packaging.

Consumer Reports found that all 19 name-brand foods tested contained measurable levels of BPA.

Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, says the findings are important because they indicate the extent of potential exposure.

Bisphenol A had been found in baby bottles, and when heated, can increase the amount of BPA that leaches out of the bottle. According to some past studies, it can interfere with infant hormone levels.

In adults, BPA may increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and breast and prostate cancer.

Measureable amounts of BPA were found in a wide spread of canned foods, including those labeled organic and BPA-free. Some food items packaged in plastic containers tested positive for measureable amounts of the chemical.

However, the highest levels were found in metal cans .

Consumer Reports listed the top three offenders in its findings in the December issue. The foods with the highest levels of BPA are Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans, Progresso Vegetable Soup and Campbell's Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup.

The FDA has maintained that trace amounts of the chemical are not dangerous, but a congressional subcommittee ruled this year that the agency has relied too heavily on studies sponsored by the American Plastics Council.

The FDA, now under new leadership, says it plans to reassess the safety of BPA.

For now, Consumers Union says it's best to choose fresh food whenever possible and to consider alternatives to canned food, beverages and infant formula.


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