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Report: Toxic Chemicals May Taint Canned Foods

Analysis of canned foods found 67 percent of the cans tested had BPA in the lining. (King of Hearts/Wikimedia Commons)
Analysis of canned foods found 67 percent of the cans tested had BPA in the lining. (King of Hearts/Wikimedia Commons)
March 30, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. - Chemicals in the linings of most food cans may be dangerous to consumers. That's the finding of a new report just released by six nonprofit groups.

They tested nearly 200 cans from 19 states distributed to some major retailers by producers including Campbell's, Del Monte and General Mills.

Mike Schade, Mind the Store campaign director for the group Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, says two thirds of the cans where lined with an epoxy containing Bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine-disrupting chemical.

"This is a chemical that is in the food packaging, and studies have shown it can migrate out of the cans and get into the food we eat, eventually make its way into our bodies and may be harmful to our health," says Schade.

The report recommends that consumers buy fresh fruits and vegetables, look for alternative packaging, such as glass jars, or buy only from manufacturers that disclose the safety of their can linings.

As Schade points out, the health consequences of exposure to BPA can be serious.

"Studies have linked exposure to BPA to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, diabetes, obesity and other serious health problems on the rise," he says.

Just two days before the report was released, Campbell's announced it will be packaging all its products for sale in the U.S. and Canada in BPA-free cans by mid-2017.

However, Schade says simply getting rid BPA in the linings is no guarantee of safety. Some companies are substituting other ingredients that may also be harmful.

"We found other toxic materials, like PVC plastic and styrene-based resins, in the can linings of many popular brands," says Schade.

The report calls on retailers and manufactures to commit to eliminating harmful lining materials, and disclose the safety data about the chemicals used in packaging.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT