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Toxic Chemical BPA Leaching into Canned Foods and Food in #7 Plastics  

post #1 of 108
Thread Starter 
This thread is growing out of a thread that was started about Sigg bottles and the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). (Don't worry, Sigg bottles have been cleared as safe!)

However, foods in #7 plastic containers and the majority of canned foods are exposed to this toxic chemical. Bisphenol-A is a plastic and resin ingredient used to line metal food and drink cans, and it's a main building block for polycarbonate (PC) plastics. Even at low doses, Bisphenol A has been linked to cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, obesity, and insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes. Refer to the Environmental Working Group report on BPA for more information.

So, what can you do to avoid exposing yourself to this chemical? The EWG report linked above has some suggestions, but here are the top ways you can avoid it:
  • Avoid all type #7 (PC) plastics. The most common plastic items of this type are those hard water bottles and some baby bottles. As an alternative, look for stainless steel bottles that are not lined with a plastic coating. Klean Kanteen is a popular brand, but my local Whole Foods carried another brand that I bought.
  • If you can buy fresh or bulk food instead of canned items, do. If you can't buy fresh or in bulk, look for food items in glass jars instead of cans or look for products from companies that don't use BPA. Some common brands are listed below along with their answers about whether they use BPA in their cans. If you use a brand that's not listed, please feel free to contact them directly to ask, then share your results here.
  • Children are very susceptible to this chemical, so eliminate their exposure to all canned products, especially canned formula.
  • Never microwave plastics, and don't wash plastic in the dishwasher. If you use plastic tupperware, consider replacing them with glass storage containers such as Pyrex.
Common Brands of Canned Foods and Company Responses

Amy's: Not Safe
Company says they DO use BPA.

Bionaturae: Depends
Bionaturae carries tomato paste and strained tomatoes in jars, but the company says they DO use BPA in cans. However, they are researching an alternative.

Eden: Depends
Company says they DO use BPA in tomato cans. However, organic bean cans do NOT contain BPA.

Muir Glen: Not Safe
Company says they DO use BPA.

Trader Joe's: Safe
Company says they do NOT use BPA.

Westbrae Natural: Unclear
Company email response says "We do not test our packaging for Bisphenol A."

Westbrook Farms: Safe
Company says they do NOT use BPA.

Wolfgang Puck: Not Safe
Company says they DO use BPA.
post #2 of 108
Don't forget that it was found in baby bottles, too!
http://www.environmentcalifornia.org...c-baby-bottles
post #3 of 108
You know. I'm tired. I'm so tired of this crap. I'm tired of having to be a freaking detective to figure out what is safe and what is TOXIC when buying food. We should not have to do this. All food should be SAFE! I mean WTH! I think I'm doing a good thing by buying organic and WHAM I get smacked in the head with stuff like this. It sickens me. How much more can we take?

Why are companies even allowed to use TOXIC chemicals in food and/or food containers?

Feeling disgusted, angry, and tired.
post #4 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kleine Hexe View Post
You know. I'm tired. I'm so tired of this crap. I'm tired of having to be a freaking detective to figure out what is safe and what is TOXIC when buying food. We should not have to do this. All food should be SAFE! I mean WTH! I think I'm doing a good thing by buying organic and WHAM I get smacked in the head with stuff like this. It sickens me. How much more can we take?

Why are companies even allowed to use TOXIC chemicals in food and/or food containers?

Feeling disgusted, angry, and tired.
Me too. But thanks snozzberry for posting that.
post #5 of 108
Sigh. I guess I'll be learning to can.
post #6 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kleine Hexe View Post
You know. I'm tired. I'm so tired of this crap. I'm tired of having to be a freaking detective to figure out what is safe and what is TOXIC when buying food. We should not have to do this. All food should be SAFE! I mean WTH! I think I'm doing a good thing by buying organic and WHAM I get smacked in the head with stuff like this. It sickens me. How much more can we take?

Why are companies even allowed to use TOXIC chemicals in food and/or food containers?

Feeling disgusted, angry, and tired.
I know how you feel. I get there sometimes myself.

I think of it as an ongoing journey to optimal health, but it still gets frustrating because sometimes I'd just like to say "Okay, I'm done! I'm buying/eating as healthy as I can. Yay!" But I'm learning the world doesn't work that way.

My only consolation is that I know there has to be a force to reckon with the corporations who are only in it for the profit. There aren't many people out there paying attention to things like this, so I think of it as we're on the front lines of defense against stupid crap like BPA.
post #7 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by snozzberry View Post
[*]Never microwave plastics, and don't wash plastic in the dishwasher. If you use plastic tupperware, consider replacing them with glass storage containers such as Pyrex.
I was under the impression that this(BPA thing) was a #7 plastics problem. I thought #4 and #5 were considered safe and those are what tupperware and other plastic food storage containers are made from.


ETA, I went to look for the issue of Organic Style I kept forever that broke down the seven types of plastics and I think I threw it away , and now their stuff isn't available online

I found this list of the seven types so that anyone else interested in researching #4 and #5 has easy access to the names of them

Types of Plastics*:

1) PETE, polyethylene terephthalate: Soft drink, water, and juice bottles

2) HDPE, high density polyethylene: Milk jugs, trash bags, detergent bottles, some produce bags

3) Vinyl: Cooking oil bottles, meat packaging

4) LDPE, low density polyethylene: Grocery bags, bread bags, some produce bags, ziploc bags, baby bottle liners

5) PP, polypropylene: Yogurt, sour cream, and margarine containers

6) Polystyrene: Hot beverage cups, some disposable plates, egg cartons, meat trays

7) Other, polycarbonate

I now remeber the Organic Style article said that #1 was OK for one time use only, and I don't remember what they said of #2 or #3.
I did switch to pumping into bottle liners instead of #7 bottles after I read the article.
post #8 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246 View Post
I was under the impression that this was a #7 plastics problem. I thought #4 and #5 were considered safe and those are what tupperware and other plastic food storage containers are made from.
I pulled the "never microwave plastics" tip from the EWG consumer tips page. Here's a by-the-numbers safety guide for plastics from Delicious Living Magazine. So if the type is 1, 2, 4, or 5, there are no known studies showing health hazards.

However, even the mainstream "formaldehyde-isn't-carcinogenic" FDA says to use only those containers that say they're safe for microwave use.

I subscribe more to the environmental groups like EWG and The Green Guide than to the FDA. I think they have a healthier outlook on taking proper precautions than the FDA.

ETA: Here's another bit from the EWG about the issue:
Quote:
In studies, exposing plastic to the heat of a microwave, dishwasher or hot foods caused more BPA to migrate into food. Heating degrades the chemical bond that holds polycarbonate plastic together. But some studies have detected leaching even at room temperatures. Heavily scratched or worn plastic degrades faster.

Polypropelene and polyethylene plastics, which are marked with product codes 1, 2 or 5 on the bottom, appear safer, vom Saal said. The problem is polycarbonate is commonly added to other plastics and might not be on labels.

"There is no such thing as safe microwaveable plastic," vom Saal said. "As you heat it, you degrade the chemical bond. You can't see this happening. You can't taste it, you can't smell it, but you are getting dosed at a higher and higher amount."
post #9 of 108
I wasn't thinking about microwaving, although that IS what you said .

My above statements about #4 and #5 are just meant about general use, not microwaving.
I agree, DON'T microwave plastics
post #10 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246 View Post
I wasn't thinking about microwaving, although that IS what you said .

My above statements about #4 and #5 are just meant about general use, not microwaving.
I agree, DON'T microwave plastics
Ah, okay! Sorry about that.

I just thought the "this" at the beginning of your post was in reference to the microwaving.
post #11 of 108
I edited to clarify
post #12 of 108
:

And I really, really agree with Kleine Hexe. This is so frustrating - food items sold to be consumed should be safe w/o so much detective work!
post #13 of 108
Here's a thing on plastics I found. Hey, they link to the green guide institute that you talk about

http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/home/473
post #14 of 108
I emailed all the companies listed in post #1 last night. I've gotten a response from Muir Glen. Here it is:

"Thank you for contacting Muir Glen regarding bisphenol-A in food packaging. Bisphenol-A is a critical component of protective coatings used with metal food packaging and provides important quality and safety features to canned foods.



Scientific and government bodies worldwide have examined the scientific evidence and consistently have reached the conclusion that BPA is not a risk to human health. Recent examples include comprehensive risk assessments in Japan and Europe and a review by an independent panel of experts organized by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. The can coatings used in Muir Glen packaging comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for use in food contact applications. These coatings have long played an essential part in food preservation, helping to maintain wholesomeness, nutritional value, and product quality.



We work closely with our suppliers to ensure that all of the food ingredients and packaging materials we use are fully in compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements and meet our high quality standards.



We will continue to monitor this situation. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us. Your questions and comments are always welcome. For more information on the safety of metal food containers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration press office may be contacted at (301) 436-2335."


I responsed but I didn't save it so I can't post. But I pointed out how they are hypocritical to say that pesticides and so forth (which the FDA deems safe) to be harmful and yet they turn around and quote the FDA safety standards when it suits their profit.
post #15 of 108
We try not to buy or store in plastics (although it isn't always possible for us), and I am canning more and more. What about sippy cups and food dishes, though? I can't give ds glass or I will have broken glass all over the floor. I put food directly on his tray when I can, although that is plastic too.

Am I understanding correctly that heating the plastic in the dishwasher makes it more reactive even after it is cooled?
post #16 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kleine Hexe View Post
. . .

Scientific and government bodies worldwide have examined the scientific evidence and consistently have reached the conclusion that BPA is not a risk to human health. Recent examples include comprehensive risk assessments in Japan and Europe and a review by an independent panel of experts organized by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. The can coatings used in Muir Glen packaging comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for use in food contact applications. These coatings have long played an essential part in food preservation, helping to maintain wholesomeness, nutritional value, and product quality.
. . .

I responsed but I didn't save it so I can't post. But I pointed out how they are hypocritical to say that pesticides and so forth (which the FDA deems safe) to be harmful and yet they turn around and quote the FDA safety standards when it suits their profit.
I want to see the research on both sides.

THAT RESPONSE IS HILARIOUS How funny of them to sell organics on the basis that it's safer, yet accept BPA. . .I can't wait to hear what they say back.
post #17 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by wallacesmum View Post
We try not to buy or store in plastics (although it isn't always possible for us), and I am canning more and more. What about sippy cups and food dishes, though? I can't give ds glass or I will have broken glass all over the floor. I put food directly on his tray when I can, although that is plastic too.

Am I understanding correctly that heating the plastic in the dishwasher makes it more reactive even after it is cooled?
Not all plastics contain BPA. Many plastics are pretty non-reactive when not heated (#4 and #5 for example). The gerber bowls we use are #5 I think. I don't know what melamine is, but that stuff is weird and freaks me out just a bit (don't know if it's for good reason or not, just something about it).
I don't know about the diswasher thing, but I had the same understanding as you.
post #18 of 108
There was just something about this on CNN less than 2 weeks ago...or one of the news stations...I'll see if I can find it. But here is a link to an article in Washington Post. It seems that mainstream science is getting closer to the truth about plastics and obesity, for starters.

As for sippy's and such, we just got our package today (that segment on the news made me finally get off my but and order some stainless bottles) from Klean Kanteen. They have some great sippy's for kids. They are stainless bottles that have an adaptor to use an Avent sippy top. I realize this means some plastic exposure, but it has to be better than their drinks sitting in plastic all the time, kwim?
post #19 of 108
snozzberry - thanks for posting this and including the individual manufacturer information!

ETA: Bionaturae also sells what they call "Strained Tomatoes" in glass containers.
post #20 of 108
urrrgghhhh...

i'll have to echo kleine hexe. : .

my mom, who's 80, says she doesn't know how they got along before plastic bags and paper towels, but of course she does know. lotsa glass and cloth towels. i have to admit i love buying canned beans and tomatoes. i guess the beans aren't too bad, but the tomatoes are? they probably use the plastic liner on them because the acid in the tomatoes would leach lead or something else noxious from the cans, like where they're soldered. so is it the plastic liner in the cans? do you think cans that don't have the plastic liner are okay?

this stuff makes my head explode : .

as an aside, my mom used to work in a hospital in the blood bank in the 40s/50s and once broke a bottle of blood before the advent of plastic bags of blood. she said a pint of blood is a whole lotta blood!

i also remember the advent of the plastic shampoo bottle. i particularly remember a commercial for some brand (maybe breck?) where the shampoo bottle *bounced* off the shower floor when it fell. the whole selling point of the commercial was the shampoo was in unbreakable bottles. i was a leetle kid and i don't remember if the improvement was over glass shampoo bottles (scary thought) or just a breakable plastic bottle.

i wonder if the corn starch plastic has bad chemicals in it, too?
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