WASHINGTON, DC - April 2 -
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may want to consider reducing their exposure, and that of their infants and young children, to the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) by avoiding most canned soups and drinks and many hard-plastic reusable water bottles. That advice comes from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the nonprofit group that publishes Nutrition Action Healthletter, which asks “Hard Questions About a Hard Plastic” in its April issue.
To be sure, there are conflicting studies about the effects of BPA on humans. One government-funded expert panel linked the endocrine-disrupting chemical to increased rates of breast and prostate cancer and reproductive problems. A second panel found fault with the first, though both expressed concerns about the impact of BPA on behavior in animal studies and what that might mean for children.
BPA is coursing through the bloodstream of almost every American. Government scientists say that almost all of that comes from the tiny amounts that are leached out of Nalgene-type polycarbonate water bottles or metal cans lined with an epoxy resin made from BPA. Unfortunately, that means almost all metal cans that contain food or drink.
“We don’t want to tell people not to eat canned beans or tomatoes,” said CSPI senior nutritionist David Schardt. “But at the same time, it makes sense for all parents, and especially pregnant and nursing women, to minimize the exposure of their kids’ developing bodies and brains to BPA. The food industry could make life easier by phasing it out entirely. Why roll the dice and assume that all the studies finding problems with BPA are wrong?”
At least one brand of canned goods, Eden, uses a BPA-free lining for its cans, and several manufacturers use aseptic cardboard boxes free of BPA. Several brands of tuna and salmon come in pouches, instead of in BPA-lined cans, and most canned vegetables also come frozen. Soda drinkers could minimize exposure to BPA by choosing plastic bottles, almost all of which are made with easily recyclable and BPA-free polyethylene terephthalate. Parents can help kids minimize exposure by avoiding toddler sippy cups and infant formula bottles made with polycarbonate plastic, according to CSPI.