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Study: BPA Common in Kids' Canned Foods

Researchers Say Potentially Harmful Chemical Is Leaching Into Soup From Cans

BPA in Canned Food continued...

The lowest BPA levels were found in another Campbell's product, SpaghettiOs with Meatballs, with levels of 10-16 ppb.

Other products tested and their BPA levels were:

  • Earth's Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup, USDA Organic: 34-42 ppb
  • Annie's Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli, USDA Organic: 27-34 ppb
  • Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta, Mini ABC's & 123's with Meatballs: 19-21 ppb

Researchers say these findings are consistent with previous analyses of BPA levels in canned foods. A March 2011 review of BPA levels in canned foods by the same group found soups averaged 69 ppb and meals averaged 36 ppb.

Campbell Soup Company spokesman Anthony Sanzio says the quality and safety of their products is their top priority.

"BPA is used by the entire industry as a can lining to protect the food because it is approved for that use," says Sanzio. "We are talking about parts per billion here. These are very small, minute amounts that regulatory bodies have said don't pose a threat to human health."

"We are confident in what the science tells us, but that does not mean that we don't understand the concerns that consumers have expressed," says Sanzio.

BPA Debate Continues

There's no argument that BPA is everywhere: in the water, air, ground, and food we eat. But the issue is whether human exposure to BPA at the levels currently found in the food supply is responsible for negative health effects down the road.

Some researchers say the Environmental Protection Agency's current safe BPA exposure limit is too high. They argue that studies have shown adverse effects at much lower levels of exposure.

On the other side of the debate, industry groups say recent studies call into question previous studies that have used spot testing of blood or urine as an indicator of potential BPA health risks.

"There has been a lot of new science that has come out not necessarily looking at the levels of BPA in canned foods, but what is happening when BPA enters the body. I think that is of more concern," says John Rost, PhD, chairman of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance. "People may begin to see that BPA is not dangerous or harmful and that the benefits of using it far outweigh the media uproar."

For example, a study in this month's Journal of Toxicological Sciences suggests that BPA in the food supply may not be responsible for negative health effects because it is quickly metabolized and doesn't stay in the body for long.

"Your body is able to excrete it without it ever entering the bloodstream in a toxic form," says Rost.

But experts say metabolism rates vary greatly from person to person and cite studies that have linked very low BPA levels in the blood or urine to developmental, reproductive, or metabolic disorders in animals.

"We know that people metabolize BPA quickly, but we have daily contact with it and it is a very potent, toxic chemical in laboratory settings," says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C. "We want people's exposure to be as low as possible."

"The study was only looking at adults and there is long-standing evidence that children, while they are also able to metabolize BPA, they do it more slowly or not as completely," says Lunder.

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