The Breast Cancer Fund, an advocacy group aimed at reducing environmental factors that contribute to the disease, calculated how much bisphenol-A (BPA) might be in a canned food-heavy Thanksgiving meal, and the results are not good for those concerned about exposure to the controversial chemical.
The group tested canned turkey gravy, sweet corn, green beans, pumpkin, and cranberry sauce and found the products contain a “concerning level” of BPA, an industrial chemical used in the epoxy-resin linings of cans, receipts, and hard plastic bottles. The ubiquitous chemical has been in the spotlight after being linked to breast and other cancers, diabetes, and behavioral disorders in studies.
The report, “BPA in Thanksgiving Canned Food,” looked at: Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, Campbell’s Turkey Gravy, Carnation Evaporated Milk (by Nestle), Del Monte Fresh Cut Sweet Corn (Cream Style), Green Giant Cut Green Beans (by General Mills), Libby’s Pumpkin (by Nestle), and Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce. Servings of almost half of the products tested had levels of BPA comparable concentrations linked to adverse health outcomes in lab studies, according to the group.
The levels of BPA found in the products, which were tested by an independent lab in San Francisco, varied greatly, according to the report. In Del Monte creamed corn, for example, BPA levels ranged from non-detectable to 221 parts per billion, and levels in Campbell’s Turkey Gravy ranged from 5 to 125 parts per billion (ppb).
“We know from recent research that a BPA meal creates a spike of this estrogenic chemical in the blood,” said William Goodson, M.D., a breast cancer surgeon and Senior Clinical Research Scientist at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, who recently published on BPA and cancer. “Natural hormones work by spikes, so this is exactly what you don’t want, especially in young kids, who shouldn’t have any estrogenic spikes at all.”
For Libby’s Pumpkin, used widely in pumpkin pies, tests found between 3 to 54 ppb. Green Giant Green Beans, another Thanksgiving staple, was found to contain between 3 and 18 ppb.
The Breast Cancer Fund cited studies that showed adverse health outcomes at concentrations at or above 11 ppb. “Twelve of the food cans we tested would lead to exposures at these levels in a woman of average weight (65.4 kg, or 144 lbs.).”
The study found no BPA in all four cans of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce tested. Breast Cancer Fund said Ocean Spray uses BPA in cans but tests show the chemical is not leaching into the sauce.
The results of the study can be found here.