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BPA Compound in Food Cans May Cause Health Problems

The more I learn about what is involved with our food supply, the more I want to make an effort to buy locally grown foods

BPA, or bisphenol A, is a chemical inside some plastics and most canned foods you eat. What’s the problem with that? The chemical can slowly leach into water or food over time, which creates potential health problems like cancer, disruption to thyroid function, and obesity.

“It’s particularly concerning when it’s lining infant formula cans,” said Shanna Swan, a professor and researcher at the University of Rochester in New York.

BPA is used to keep food fresher longer and prevents it from interacting with metal and altering the taste.

Trade groups stand behind the safety of BPA, citing studies from governmental health agencies that say BPA is not harmful. But, earlier this year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expressed “some concern” about BPA for the very first time. This came on the heels of recent independent scientific studies that rose concerns. So the FDA plans on tapping into $30 million of federal stimulus funds to study the chemical’s effects on the human body.

“BPA has not been found or been proven to harm either children or adults, but because children in the very early stages of development are exposed to BPA, the data that we’re getting deserves a much closer look,” said Deputy Health and Human Services Secretary Bill Corr.

Yale University physician, professor and researcher Hugh Taylor highly recommends that pregnant women avoid products that are stored in containers with BPA.

“I tell my pregnant patients to avoid products containing it,” he said. “Even a fleeting exposure in pregnancy can cause lasting damage.”

For mothers, here is a list of BPA-free bottles. For the rest of us, you can find BPA-free products from canned food companies at TreeHugger.com. But, this is a complicated subject, and warrants much more research on your part. If you find yourself concerned after doing a little of your own legwork, then you should do more research on what companies profess to stay clear of BPA.

June 15th, 2010

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