FYI Daily

This Thanksgiving, Watch Out for BPA

Last updated:

November 23, 2011
Inside a tin can

Here's a new reason to listen to Martha Stewart: Eating canned food may raise urine levels of bisphenol A (BPA) more than a thousand percent over eating food cooked from scratch.

In a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health asked participants to eat a twelve-ounce serving of vegetable soup either from a can or from scratch for five days. After a no-soup weekend, participants switched to the other kind of soup for five days. Urine tests were conducted after each five-day stretch.

The results -- a 1,221 percent increase in BPA levels -- shocked the research team, Karin Michels, a lead author and an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard Medical School, told the New York Times' Well blog. Michels said one researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after viewing the results, "called me and said something's funny with these levels... She didn't know what she was looking at," said Michels.

And twelve ounces of soup isn't a lot, according to the participants. "They were actually telling us that that wasn't even enough for their lunch," said Michels.

BPA, frequently labeled an endocrine disruptor, is used in the epoxy resin linings on food cans, and has been linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to the Washington Post, and to breast and prostate cancer, obesity, sexual disorders, and other problems, according to WebMD.

The Breast Cancer Fund ran their own holiday-themed study, sending seven popular Thanksgiving canned foods, including Libby's Pumpkin, Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, and Green Giant Cut Green Beans, to a lab for BPA testing.

The only item to come out with a clean bill of health? Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce.

Worried about tomorrow's menu? The Breast Cancer Fund also published a list of no-can Thanksgiving recipes. BPA-free green bean casserole, anyone?