The Canned Food Dilemma
Together, we just turned the phrase bisphenol-A (BPA) into a discussionable, do-able topic and shared practical ways to reduce our exposure. We focused on compelling points everyone in our generation should know:
- BPA can interact with our bodies as a hormone-disruptor, even at low doses.
- We are exposed to BPA in many different ways in daily living.
- A significant exposure is through canned food.
- We can reduce the accumulation of BPA in our bodies when we actively reduce our exposure.
Yesterday? The responsibility of reducing exposure rested on our shoulders, the consumer. This is about to change.
Welcome to the BPA Revolution.
Where to Start?
The Buyer Beware: Toxic BPA & Regrettable Substitutes in the Linings of Canned Food report from ToxicFoodCans.org protectively raising the standard of what is questionable and unsafe to a new level. Collected through an impressive collaborative effort by the Breast Cancer Fund, Campaign for Healthier Solutions, Clean Product Action, Ecology Center Environmental Defence (Canada) and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families’ Mind the Store Campaign, the findings include:
- Nearly 192 canned foods were analyzed for BPA and include—for the first time—substitute materials used when companies claim BPA-Free.
- 67% tested contained BPA-based epoxy
- The Good News? Among others, Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s Organic, Hains Celestial Group and ConAgra have appeared to fully transition away from BPA.
Be Savvy About ‘Regrettable Substitutes’
BPA-Free used be THE nontoxic 101 mantra for the curious mainstream who wanted to learn. When we demanded ‘BPA-Free’ a few companies said, “We hear you and we shall find safe alternatives.” (Maybe not exactly those words.) Other companies happily placed “BPA-Free” onto their marketing mantra, but simply switched canned food lining to an alternative without ensuring it was safe. These choices are referred to as a ‘regrettable substitutes.’
- Buyer Beware is the first report to analyze these ‘regrettable substitutes’ putting additional focus onto the safety of four additional canned food linings: acrylic resins, oleoresin, polyester resin and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
- Acrylic resin linings include “polystyrene, a plastic made from the styrene monomer which is considered a possible human carcinogen.”
- A stunning 36% of national brands use a PVC-based copolymer – made from vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen.
Regrettable? We agree. Not worthy of our shopping cart.
So you don’t buy canned peas. You’re not off the hook.
What about canned vegetables, fruits, soups, broth, milks and beans? Hmmm. What is in your cupboard Mother Hubbard?
Three Steps for Everyone
1 ) Twenty Minutes in the Next Two days: The report is a fascinating read. Dive into the full report for retailers and brand product details. Make a list: What are the changes you are going to make?
2 ) Who Has the Right to Know? BPA-Free is (happily) mainstream. You can’t push a cart through a Target without seeing the phrase – from water bottles to food packaging. Let’s address the reality: Friends and family are silently intimidated, overwhelmed and skeptical. Now it is your turn to believe in them. We do. The key? Simply plant the seed. It’s okay. Don’t worry about explaining the entire endocrine disrupting novel at the dinner table. Just offer a small serving… of knowledge that is. Or just as powerful, click the share buttons at the top of this blog, add a comment like, "Have you seen... ", and let us lead the conversation.
3 ) Time to Stand Up: After reading the report, you just may be ready to open up a can of whoopass.. anger can be … fueling. We like ourselves a little ROAR around here. The reality is can-lining suppliers CAN be part of the solution. They can be transparent about their product and ensure the materials have been assessed for impact on health. This is possible. They should be leading the way. Until then, we are just going to have to make our intentions clear demanding they eliminate BPA and use safe substitutes.
- Choose fresh or frozen foods.
- Purchase canned food from manufacturers and retailers that fully disclose the identity and safety of their can linings.
- Look for food packaged in other materials such as glass and Tetra Pak containers.
Savvy would like to show our deep gratitude to our Founding Nonprofit Partner, the Breast Cancer Fund, and fellow protective campaigns responsible for this report: Campaign for Healthier Solutions, CleanProduct Action, Ecology Center Environmental Defence (Canada) and SaferChemicals, Healthy Families’ Mind the Store Campaign.
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