Study Says Canned Soup Associated With Increased Levels Of BPA

A new study says that regular consumption of canned soup may be  associated with an increase in levels of bisphenol A (BPA), which has been  associated with a number of harmful health effects.

Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic for water bottles and food containers as well as the protective lining in metal cans.

Previously, Health Canada focused on removing BPA from baby bottles to reduce exposure in newborns and infants. In August, Statistics Canada reported that more than 90 per cent of Canadians aged six to 79 had detectable levels of BPA in their urine.

The health risks of BPA in humans are unclear. Animal studies suggest that once ingested, BPA may imitate estrogen and other hormones, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The study authors added that the increase may be temporary and more  research is needed.

BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical used in the lining of metal  food and beverage cans, in polycarbonate bottles, and dentistry composites  and sealants. It’s been linked with diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular  disease in humans and has been shown to interfere with reproductive  development in animals.

The Harvard School of Public Health study included 75 volunteers in two  groups. One group ate a 12-ounce serving of vegetarian canned soup each  day for five days and the other group ate the same amount of fresh vegetarian soup daily for five days. The groups then switched the type of  soup they ate for another five days.

Urine samples showed that daily consumption of canned soup was  associated with a more than 1,200 percent increase in BPA, compared to  eating fresh soup.

The study appears online Nov. 22 and in the Nov. 23 print issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Previous studies have linked elevated BPA levels with adverse health  effects. The next step was to figure out how people are getting exposed to  BPA. We’ve known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored  in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body. This  study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern,  especially given their wide use,” lead author Jenny Carwile, a doctoral  student in Harvard School of Public Health’s epidemiology department, said  in a university news release.

She and her colleagues noted that the elevation in urinary BPA levels  may be temporary and said further research is needed to determine how long  it lasts.

“The magnitude of the rise in urinary BPA we observed after just one  serving of soup was unexpected and may be of concern among individuals who  regularly consume foods from cans or drink several canned beverages daily.  It may be advisable for manufacturers to consider eliminating BPA from can  linings,” senior author Karin Michels, an associate professor in the  epidemiology department, said in the news release.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about BPA.

Related: Unsafe Levels of Chemicals Found in Popular Canned Foods