A Breast Cancer Fund report has revealed that bisphenol A (BPA) was found in every food can they tested - the cans are aimed at children, and include Toy Story soups and Campbell's Disney Princess, which had the highest levels. BPA exposure is linked to a higher risk of developing prostate and breast cancers, early puberty in females, type-2 diabetes, obesity, infertility and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The authors of the report "BPA in Kids' Canned Food," added that exposing children to these toxic chemicals is of particular concern, because their hormonal systems can be affected during development, resulting in diseases later on in life.

Jeanne Rizzo, president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund, said:

"There should be no place for toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer and other serious health problems in our children's food. We hope this report will shine a spotlight on this issue and encourage companies to seek safer alternatives to BPA."

Below are examples of canned foods containing BPA, measured in parts per billion (ppb), average of two samples each:
  • 114 ppb - Campbell's Disney Princess Cool Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth, 114 ppb
  • 81 ppb - Campbell's Toy Story Fun Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
  • 39 ppb - Earth's Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup, USDA Organic
  • 31 ppb - Annie's Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli, USDA Organic
  • 13 ppb - Campbell's Spaghettios with Meatballs
  • 20 ppb - Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta, Mini ABC's & 123's with Meatballs
Gretchen Lee Salter, Policy Manager at the Breast Cancer Fund, said:

"In all of these products - but particularly in the Campbell's Disney Princess and Toy Story soups - a child-sized serving could result in BPA exposure at a level of concern. Consider the number of servings of canned foods - soups, pastas, vegetables, fruits - that a child eats in a week, in a year, and then throughout her developing years, and you start to see the urgency of getting BPA out of food cans."

Breast cancer surgeon, William Goodson, M.D., a breast cancer surgeon, said:

"This report shows the that we're all part of a big experiment to see what BPA will do to our kids and us. We weren't given any choice about being in this experiment, and it's time for that to change."

Dr. Goodson is a senior clinical research scientist at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute. Just last week, he and a team of researchers published a study which demonstrated that BPA causes non-cancerous cells to grow and survive like cancer cells.

This latest study also found that those on lower incomes tend to have the highest BPA exposure. The authors say it is because canned foods cost less, last longer and are available in larger quantities in low-income neighborhoods, compared to fresh foods.

The Breast Cancer Fund is urging food manufacturers to find safer alternatives to BPA in its "Cans Not Cancer" campaign.

Salter said:

"Every day, children are being exposed to BPA through canned foods marketed to them using slick advertising and their favorite characters. The Breast Cancer Fund's Cans Not Cancer campaign is about our health, our children's health, and a safer future where breast cancer rates have dropped because we've reduced our exposure to toxic chemicals."

Eden Foods is an example of a food company that has moved away from using BPA; they use an oleoresinous c-enamel - a mixture of a plant resin and an oil for some of its canned products. Other companies claim to be using alternatives to BPA, however, most of them do not explain what these alternatives are.

Ten US states have introduced legislation restricting BPA use in infant food containers. However, the kinds of canned foods tested in this study are not affected by such legislation.

The Breast Cancer Fund says it supports a federal legislation proposal by Rep. Ed Merkey, D-Mass. to ban BPA from all canned foods and drinks.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

BPA or Bisphenol A, molecular formula C15H16O2, is an endocrine disruptor, a substance which undermines the production, secretion, transport, action, function and elimination of natural hormones. It mimics the human body's own hormones, which can harm health. During early development of a human being i.e. childhood, BPA's effects can be particularly harmful. A 2011 study found that 96% of pregnant mothers in the USA are exposed to BPA.

The chemical BPA is found in hard plastics as well as the coatings of many drinks and food cans. It is used to make water bottles, baby bottles, dental fillings and sealants, medical devices, eyeglass lenses, and dental devices. Many countries have banned or are in the process of banning the use of BPA in baby bottles. Scientists at the University of Missouri this year demonstrated that exposure to BPA through diet accumulates in the body much more rapidly than previously thought. (Link to article)

BPA can potentially have the following effects on human health:
  • Alterations in male sex hormones - one study linked BPA exposure to alterations in sex hormones in males (Link)
  • Asthma - a particular threshold of BPA in humans has been linked to increasing asthma rates (Link)
  • Breast cancer - females exposed to BPA and DES (diethylstilbestrol) have a higher risk of developing breast cancer (Link)
  • Chemotherapy - the efficacy of chemotherapy may be reduced by the presence of BPA (Link)
  • Diabetes and heart disease - BPA has been linked to diabetes and heart disease in adults (Link)
  • Erectile function - BPA was found to be associated with male impotence (erectile dysfunction), as well as some other sexual problems (Link)
  • Heart disease - BPA may cause heart disease in females (Link)
  • Memory, learning and brain function - exposure to BPA may lead to a loss of connections between brain cells (Link(
  • Quality of woman's eggs - Californian scientists found that BPA exposure sometimes affects the quality of a woman's eggs (Link)
  • Reproduction - experts believe BPA may cause human reproductive disorders (Link)
Written by Christian Nordqvist