SAN FRANCISCO, June 29 (Xinhua) -- A new study has confirmed the link between eating canned food and increased exposure to a chemical linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health effects.
The study, by researchers at Stanford and Johns Hopkins universities, with a first-of-its-kind sample including thousands of people of various ages, and geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, highlights the challenges consumers face in trying to limit their exposure to the chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA.
Published in the recent issue of Environmental Research, the study of 7,669 participants 6 years and older with 24-hour dietary recall information and urinary BPA concentrations from year 2003 through 2008 establishes the link that the more canned food consumed, the higher the BPA, confirming canned food's outsized influence on exposure to BPA.
"I could eat three cans of peaches, and you could eat one can of cream of mushroom soup and have a greater exposure to BPA," said lead author Jennifer Hartle, a postdoctoral researcher at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.
As in the study, the consumption of one canned food vs. none was found to be associated with 24 percent higher urinary BPA concentrations; and the consumption of two or more canned foods vs. none was associated with 54 percent higher urinary BPA concentrations.
BPA is a compound used to make, among other things, resins that coat the inside of food cans and jar lids. Previous research has focused on analyzing levels of BPA in canned products and measuring BPA exposure within groups of fewer than 75 people.
The new study also finds that different foods have different amounts of BPA contamination, and particular kinds of canned food are associated with higher urinary BPA concentrations. The worst offenders, in descending order: canned soup, canned pasta, canned vegetables and fruit.
A previous study led by Hartle found that children, who are especially susceptible to hormone disruption from BPA, are at risk from school meals that often come from cans and other packaging, according to a news release from Stanford. This uptick in packaging is a result of schools' efforts to streamline food preparation and meet U.S. federal nutrition standards while keeping costs low.
The state of California, where Stanford University is located, has listed BPA as a female reproductive toxicant, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has restricted its use in some products, such as baby bottles, sippy cups and liquid infant formula canned linings. However, the FDA says on its website that the federal agency is still working to "answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about BPA."
"Many food and beverage companies are moving away from the use of BPA," Hartle said. "However, we do not know if synthetic BPA replacements are safe either."
The researchers suggest that U.S. federal regulators expand testing beyond BPA to other chemicals used as BPA replacements in food packaging, none of which are included in national monitoring studies. Enditem