Breast Cancer Fund, which is a nonprofit advocacy organization, released a report Sept. 21 that found bisphenol A (BPA) in six canned foods that are made for children, including Campbell’s soup and Chef Boyardee products. Chef Boyardee is a ConAgra Foods brand.
Although Breast Cancer Fund’s findings are based on a small sample and haven’t been placed under the rigorous scientific scrutiny that’s required of peer-reviewed research, the organization’s information is indicative of how many everyday products still contain BPA, which is considered potentially toxic.
Tom Burke, who is an associate dean at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, says the informational findings—although they aren’t driven by a hypothesis—are similar to media investigative reports, which are meant to raise awareness in the general public.
BPA is a chemical compound that can be used to produce plastic and the epoxy resin lining in canned foods. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies found that BPA can affect development in animals. Numerous peer-reviewed studies have linked BPA to cancer and other health problems, which has prompted many manufacturers to stop including BPA in their plastic infant bottles and water bottles.
Breast Cancer Fund’s findings focus on six children’s food products (three canned soups and three canned pasta products) that were selected from stores in San Francisco and Milwaukee. Two samples of each item (twelve samples total) were tested at an independent laboratory. The BPA results for the canned soups averaged 77.5 parts per billion (ppb); canned-pasta products averaged 21 ppb. Both amounts are in line with results that previous independent-research studies showed.
Connie Engel, who is a program coordinator at Breast Cancer Fund, concedes that the report is limited and mentions that it was meant to raise public awareness that BPA is present in canned foods that are meant to be consumed by children. “People would focus on BPA being in baby bottles and water bottles and may not know that it is in the lining of their food cans,” Engel says.
Burke believes that reports such as the Breast Cancer Fund’s make consumers aware of the products that might contain BPA and allow consumers to make their own judgment on limiting their exposure to BPA.
He says Canada and Europe ban BPA. Although Food and Drug Administration and CDC still are conducting research on the effects of BPA, many U.S. companies and consumers have taken notice of BPA’s potential dangers and are more aware of the products that they purchase.
– K. Fanuko