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Study Finds BPA levels In US Foods Less than Government Limits

Researchers report that bisphenol A (BPA) levels found in fresh and canned food as well as food wrapped in plastic packaging in the U.S. are nearly 1,000 times lower than the “tolerable daily intake” levels set by the by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), according to the first peer-reviewed BPA study, reports the American Chemical Society.

The report, “Bisphenol A (BPA) in U.S. Food,” appears online in the American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science & Technology.

Studies have linked BPA to developmental problems, heart disease and diabetes.

BPA is used in the lining of metal cans and in polycarbonate plastics such as baby bottles, although some baby bottle manufacturers have switched to BPA-free products. In March 2009, the six largest makers of baby bottles announced they would stop manufacturing baby bottles in the United States made with BPA.

The researchers measured BPA levels in 105 human, cat, and dog foods, and found quantifiable levels of BPA in 63 of the samples. The report provides a list of the foods, brands and BPA levels found in each of the products.

Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a coauthor, told Chemical & Engineering News that the low parts per billion levels detected are in line with previous reports on food from other countries and by U.S. environmental groups.

Arnold Schecter, of the University of Texas School of Public Health said in the article that this type of study generally examines meat, poultry, fish, fruit, and vegetables purchased at supermarkets, but this one included canned and packaged food because the containers include BPA in their epoxy resins.

Olaf Päpke, a coauthor at Eurofins Scientific, an international group of laboratories that specializes in analyzing food and persistent organic pollutants, found BPA in many but not all of the canned foods, which generally had the highest BPA concentrations, reports Chemical & Engineering News.

The report reveals that cans of Del Monte fresh cut green beans had the highest BPA levels in the study with three cans containing between 26.60 and 65.00 ng of BPA per gram of food, which is equivalent to 26.60 to 65.00 ppb, according to Chemical & Engineering News.

The research also found BPA in fresh turkey and in foods with plastic packaging such as Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs. Foods with quantifiable levels of BPA include Progresso Vegetable and Rice Soup (canned) with a range of 15.6-22.7 ng/g ww (nanogram per gram wet weight), Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs (plastic container) with a range of 4.31-5.04 ng/g ww, Enfamil Infant Formula Milk Based (canned) with a range of 0.97-1.24 ng/g ww, and Alpo Lamb and Rice Dog Food (canned) with a BPA level of 0.26 ng/g ww.

The report also finds that several samples did not have detectable levels of BPA, such as Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup 2.5% Fat (canned), Similac Infant Formula Milk Based (canned), Sprouts Organic Apple Sauce (plastic container), fresh salmon, and Cesar Chicken and Beef puppy food (plastic container).

The study also indicates that cans of tomato paste had non-detectable levels of BPA. Ruthann Rudel at the nonprofit research group Silent Spring Institute told Chemical & Engineering News that because acidic foods like tomatoes are known to enhance BPA leaching, the findings suggest that companies have developed effective new linings.

A recent study from Green Century Capital Management and As you Sow indicates that major brands including Hain Celestial, H.J. Heinz, ConAgra, and General Mills are all working to eliminate BPA in food can linings. The study also reveals that several others including Coca-Cola, Del Monte, Kraft and Wal-Mart, failed to keep pace with the industry leaders.

Researchers conclude that the levels of BPA consumed by children and adults are below the EPA’s safety limit of 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight per day, based on the survey samples.  However, some researchers say EPA’s BPA limit is too high, reports Chemical & Engineering News.

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