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

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#1 of 108 Old 03-28-2007, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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#2 of 108 Old 03-28-2007, 09:38 PM
 
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Don't forget that it was found in baby bottles, too!
http://www.environmentcalifornia.org...c-baby-bottles

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#3 of 108 Old 03-28-2007, 11:29 PM
 
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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.
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#4 of 108 Old 03-28-2007, 11:32 PM
 
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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.
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#5 of 108 Old 03-28-2007, 11:43 PM
 
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Sigh. I guess I'll be learning to can.
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#6 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#7 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 09:06 AM
 
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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.

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#8 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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."

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#9 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 09:20 AM
 
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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

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#10 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#11 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 09:33 AM
 
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I edited to clarify

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#12 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 09:36 AM
 
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:

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!

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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#13 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 09:45 AM
 
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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

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#14 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 10:43 AM
 
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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.
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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?
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#16 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 11:51 AM
 
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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.

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#17 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 11:54 AM
 
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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.

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#18 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 04:03 PM
 
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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?

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#19 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 04:12 PM
 
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snozzberry - thanks for posting this and including the individual manufacturer information!

ETA: Bionaturae also sells what they call "Strained Tomatoes" in glass containers.
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#20 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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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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#21 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 05:12 PM
 
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oh, yeah, just to rain on the whole effing parade, i have read that the jar lids on glass jars have bad stuff on them, too. in fact in europe they have a regulation about this sort of thing that we don't have here. i can't remember which chemical if it's Bis...A or something else. a mom i know vowed not to feed her baby commercial baby food because of the US's lax regulations about it. (my kids just didn't like mushy baby food and preferred to finger feed.)

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#22 of 108 Old 03-29-2007, 05:51 PM
 
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What about the cardboard containers? Like the ones that non-refridgerated milk and broth come in?
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they're probably all bad, too, huh? asceptic containers...

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Thank you so much for this. I appreciate everyone trying to decipher all of this and figure out which brands are using the BPA.

I contacted Trader Joe's today by phone and they said the do NOT use BPA (I use their marinara sauce and sometimes their organic beans) .

I also noticed the bionaturae glass tomato paste and other tomatoes when I was shopping this afternoon. Tomato products especially are something I am interested in finding in glass. If anyone knows of a brand of diced tomatoes in glass please post! Hopefully I'll have a huge tomato crop this summer and just can my own.

Many people I know think I am a little nuts or obsessive to worry about this, but SOMEONE has to, right? It is crazy and disgusting that we have to work so hard to determine if our food is safe - or unsafe! Argh!!!:

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#25 of 108 Old 03-30-2007, 02:02 AM
 
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Thanks so much for posting this! I had no idea.

I also gotta say, holy crap! My kids each have one of those #7 water bottles, ack! At least most of my canned stuff is from TJs.

Is ceramic okay? What kind of cups/glasses do your kids drink out of (I mean besides the siggs/kks)? I occasionally give ds1 a ceramic mug to drink out of, but ds2 would happily bang a mug to bits. Is there an unbreakable alternative? Maybe those camping cups? Are those aluminum or stainless steel?
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#26 of 108 Old 03-30-2007, 09:47 AM
 
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I am just sick about this. : : : : :

With my 2nd two children I returned to work at 3.5 months so they drank my pumped milk from an Avent botte.

Anyone know of any studies or discussions regarding the Ameda storage bottles for the breast pump? They are made in Europe I believe. My bottles are not marked with a number.
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#27 of 108 Old 03-30-2007, 09:50 AM
 
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I am just sick about this. : : : : :

With my 2nd two children I returned to work at 3.5 months so they drank my pumped milk from an Avent botte.

Anyone know of any studies or discussions regarding the Ameda storage bottles for the breast pump? They are made in Europe I believe. My bottles are not marked with a number.
You can usually tell polycarbonate by flicking it with your fingernail. It would have a tingy sound. If you drop it on a hard surface it will bounce and have a distinct sound. It's not a very flexible plastic. If the plastic seems sorta "soft" it's probably not polycarb.
I know that's not very scientific, but that's how I've figured out a number of my bottles.

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#28 of 108 Old 03-30-2007, 10:31 AM
 
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I received a nicer response from Amy's. Here's a summary:

"While the FDA, the Japan Ministry of Health, the United Kingdom Food
Standards Agency and the Gradient Corporation Risk Assessment Panel have
all deemed the levels of BPA in canned goods to be safe, we recognize
that BPA is a controversial issue that needs to be monitored in the
future. We are also encouraging our can suppliers to work on methods to
reduce BPA migration into the food, as well as support their research
into alternative materials that do not allow bacterial or metallic
contamination of the food. While alternative coatings are being
developed and tested at this time, we expect it to take several years
before a new coating might be available that provides the level of
protection required in canned soups."

They also sent me links to studies which I have not looked at. Here they are:

http://www.gradientcorp.com/coinfo/pdf/RiskBull1.pdf

http://unit.aist.go.jp/crm/mainmenu/...ry_English.pdf

http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Pla...FoodsAug02.htm.

http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/scie...001/bisphenols


Oh, my question is this....Amy's states that they are researching alternatives. Why is it that other companies seem to not have to use BPA in their canned products yet Amy's and Muir Glen state that they have to right now?
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#29 of 108 Old 03-30-2007, 11:08 AM
 
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Maybe those camping cups? Are those aluminum or stainless steel?
is enamelware what you;re thinking of?
I use that for the dc's bowls.....wonder if it's ok?
I just don't want to put warm food into plastic and they're not ready for our plates yet--anyone know about enamelware?

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I just emailed Westbrook Farms to find out about their cans, but I suspect we know the answer. Has anyone talked to them? They are the cheapest in my bulk catalog!
wallacesmum is offline  
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