Report Shows Majority of Canned Foods Still Contain BPA


A national report released in March has verified that canned foods are still a major source of exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA), revealing its presence in the linings of two out of three cans of food distributed by popular national brands. Nearly 200 cans of food were tested.

Buyer Beware: Toxic BPA & Regrettable Substitutes in the Linings of Canned Food, released in early March 2016, was conceived and authored by the national Mind the Store campaign of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition organization in which Maine’s Environmental Health Strategy Center is a lead partner, and other national organizations.

The report also identifies, for the first time, unsafe alternative chemicals found in BPA-free food cans.

BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that strong science links to adverse health effects such as breast and prostate cancer, infertility, and learning and attention deficit disorders. Most people are exposed to BPA from dietary sources; prenatal exposure to BPA occurs when pregnant women consume canned foods. BPA easily migrates out of can linings, getting into food.

In 2011, in the first action taken under Maine’s first-in-the-nation Kid Safe Products Act, BPA was banned in baby bottles and sippy cups over the objections of Governor Paul LePage. In 2013, the Environmental Health Strategy Center and Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine led a successful campaign to expand the phase-out of BPA to infant-formula cans and baby food jar lids. But the Maine Board of Environmental Protection stopped short of banning BPA in canned foods marketed to toddlers, based on the opposition of the LePage Administration.

The report finds that 67% of cans tested still contain BPA in the liners, and 100% of leading food manufacturer Campbell’s cans contained BPA. The report also documented chemicals used as replacements for BPA, many of which were unsafe PVC-based substitutes, and others had chemicals which require more research to determine their safety.

“Years after Maine led the nation, when BPA was banned in baby food packaging, most Maine families are still exposed to this hormone disruptor from canned foods,” said Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Maine-based Environmental Health Strategy Center. “Lawmakers and industry leaders across the country must take swifter action to eliminate BPA from our food supply.”