Dangerous chemical being used in lining of many food cans


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A chemical linked to a variety of diseases like breast cancer, diabetes and obesity, continues to be used to line the inside of a large percentage of the cans that hold our food.

Because of that, a consumer advocacy group is now pushing to have Bisphenol A taken out of the can linings in the same way it was taken out of many plastic toys and bottles.

Metal cans are a great convenience. They are lined with an epoxy resin to protect them from corrosion or to keep harmful bacteria from getting into a damaged can.

But, some say when the lining is made with a chemical known as BPA.

BPA was originally developed as an estrogen therapy.

Later it was discovered it could be used to improve plastics.

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“It actually makes plastics clear and hard,” says Ansje Miller of the Center for Environmental Health.

But, studies show BPA can leach of out can linings and into the food.

“It mimics our hormones and that’s what’s caused the diseases,” explains Miller.

Some people are wary of canned goods because of that.

“I try to monitor how much I eat in a can and try to keep it minimal,” says Maria LeBlanc of Raleigh.

BPA became such a concern that it’s no longer used in water bottles, baby products and toys.

But, a recent study just concluded study by the Center For Environmental Health found a lot of cans purchased in North Carolina and in 10 other states have linings with BPA.

“We tested 250 cans and found 40 percent of them still contain BPA,” said Miller.

The canning industry points to an FDA report as well as other studies elsewhere saying “linings with BPA have been deemed safe by regulatory agencies around the world.”

It also says “the industry is transitioning to can coatings that don’t use BPA.”

A year ago, a study by The Center For Environmental Health showed 70 percent of cans had BPA linings, now it’s latest study shows about 40 per cent of cans have BPA, so manufacturers are responding.

Cans that are no longer lined with BPA enhanced plastic are appearing on store shelves and many carry a notice on their label that they use BPA free linings. But, some consumers worry if the alternative linings are any safer.

“I’m hoping whatever they use now is better than the BPA, but I’m never quite sure,” said LeBlanc.

If you’re worried about BPA in can linings, some suggest eating more fresh foods, or use frozen foods in place of canned goods whenever possible.

If you’d like to dig deeper into this, here are some helpful links.

This is the complete report by Center for Environmental Health on its can survey.

The canning industry trade group, The North American Metal Packaging Alliance has this reaction to CEH report.

The North American Metal packaging Alliance has this report which talks about BPA in Cans and its replacements.

There is also an FDA report on BPA available here.

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