BPA has become an endangered species thanks to the overwhelming pressure placed on companies by the grassroots movement that demanded it be removed. We’ve all worked hard to see it through, but the report just released by Mind the Store Campaign (Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families) reveals we still have work to do.
New Report Finds BPA in the Majority of Canned Foods
According to the new report, Buyer Beware: Toxic BPA and regrettable substitutes in canned food, the majority of canned foods still contain BPA-based lining. In fact, out of 200 cans analyzed for the presence of toxic bisphenol-a, 62% of them tested positive. As you might have guessed, we were shocked by these findings in light of the enormous demand from the public to fully eliminate the use of BPA — we've made it perfectly clear that we want safer, non-toxic alternatives in our products and our food supply. So why is BPA still hiding in so many canned foods?
Many large retailers' generic and private-label canned foods still use BPA in their can linings and/or lids including Kroger, Albertson's, Target, Walmart, Publix, Dollar General and Dollar Tree. Additionally, major national brands have also been slow to remove BPA as well, largely testing positive for BPA-based epoxy can or lid linings including 100% of Campbell's cans (15 out of 15), 71% of Del Monte cans (10 out of 14), and 50% of General Mill cans (6 out of 12).
Low-income populations often rely on canned food to meet their dietary needs which means they're still being exposed to toxic BPA, potentially in significant amounts, which includes children, the elderly and anyone on a fixed income. Pregnant women are of special concern because of the proven negative impacts of bisphenol-a on babies in the womb.
Truly Non-toxic Options
Thankfully, there are several widely available brands that have completely removed BPA from their cans:
Many manufacturers and retailers have stated their intentions to reduce and eventually eliminate BPA in their cans including Albertsons, Safeway, Kroger, Publix, Wegmans and Whole Foods, but none of them have provided a timeline to completion.
Other BPA-free Can Lining Alternatives Could Be Just as Toxic
During testing, a total of five types of coating were found:
- BPA-based epoxy
- Acrylic resins
- Polyester resins
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) copolymers
And unfortunately, the authors of the report have been unable to acquire any safety testing on any of the alternative linings as of yet. It's fairly obvious that polyvinyl chloride-based epoxy linings should be avoided due to the overwhelming evidence of the toxic nature of PVC. Regrettably, 18% of retailers’ private-label foods and 36% of national brands were found to be lined with a PVC-based copolymer.
According to the report,
We know very little about the additives used in these compounds to give them the properties that make them stable and effective can linings. Our research does demonstrate that there are multiple formulations of most of these compounds, but there is no way to determine the specific chemicals used or how they are produced.
Not such good news. That's why we're joining together with Mind the Store Campaign and the coalition of partners who produced this revealing report in reinforcing and strengthening our demand for safer canned foods, and we can do that in the following ways:
- Support the “Ban Poisonous Additives Act” and other federal policy initiatives that would require the FDA to more strictly regulate the safety of food packaging.
- Demand that our favorite national brands and retailers take these steps:
- Set a time frame to eliminate BPA and use safe substitutes in the lining of canned foods and other food packaging.
- Label the presence of BPA and BPA-alternative chemicals in their can linings.
- Publicly disclose safety data for their BPA alternatives.
- Vote with our pocketbooks and only purchase canned food from manufacturers and retailers that fully disclose the identity and safety of their can linings.
- Avoid canned foods whenever possible, choosing fresh and frozen instead.
- Join the campaigns listed in this report and visit their websites for additional information and updates:
• Non-toxic Dollar Stores, Environmental Justice for All
This report is meant to serve as a wake-up call for national brands and retailers of canned food who are jumping from the frying pan into the fire by eliminating BPA and potentially replacing it with regrettable substitutes. Consumers want BPA-free canned food that is truly safer, not canned food lined with chemicals that are equally or more toxic.