With yesterday's study linking bisphenol A—a chemical in hard plastics and the linings of food and beverage cans—to diabetes and heart disease, you may be wondering what you can do to minimize your exposure. The Environmental Working Group last year conducted an analysis of BPA in various canned foods and found the amount varies widely depending on the food. Condensed milk, for instance, has relatively little BPA, while infant formula has a lot more—about one fifth the safe dose limit set by the Food and Drug Administration. Of course, the potential risk also depends on how much you consume. Canned soda has less BPA per serving than some other foods, but if you're having a six pack a day...
Here are some good rules of thumb for reducing your intake of BPA.
1. Buy your tomato sauce in glass jars. Canned tomato sauce is likely to have higher levels of BPA because the high acidity of the tomatoes causes more of the chemical to leach from the lining of the can. Think beyond plain tomato sauce to any canned pasta—like ravioli and those fun-looking kids' meals.
2. Consume frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned. In addition to their BPA-free benefit, fresh and frozen produce usually have more nutrients, which often get lost in the process of canning. Eden Foods does offer canned beans that are BPA-free.
3. Purchase beverages in plastic or glass bottles. Canned soda and juice often contain some BPA. You don't need to worry, though, about disposable plastic water bottles. Most don't contain bisphenol A, and those that do are usually marked on the bottom with a number 7 recycling code.
4. Use powdered infant formula instead of ready-to-serve liquid. A separate assessment from the Environmental Working Group found that liquid formulas contain more BPA than powdered brands.
5. Think in terms of moderation. You don't need to avoid all canned foods. Just consult the chart below and follow a sensible approach, eating less of those foods that are high in BPA. Click here for the full report on canned foods.