November 6, 2010
Bad news has emerged for those hoping to avoid exposure to the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) by canning their own vegetables: BPA can also be found lining the lids of canning jars.
BPA is a synthetic chemical widely used in the manufacturing of hard, durable plastics (including in water and baby bottles), as well as in the lining of food and beverage cans (including infant formula). Studies have shown that it mimics the action of estrogen in the body, producing a wide variety of effects on the hormonal, nervous, reproductive and cardiovascular systems. Exposure in children and pregnant women is considered especially dangerous.
“Phthalates and [BPA] … aren’t quite identical to the natural hormone molecules in men’s or women’s bodies, but they come close enough that they occupy the same receptors on estrogen-sensitive tissues and exert their own unique effects on human health,” writes David Steinman in his book Safe Trip to Eden.
BPA is also used to make dental resins and the thermal paper used for receipts. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 93 percent of U.S. residents carry it in their bodies.
Since canned food and plastic are major sources of BPA exposure, many consumers are now shifting to foods in glass and even canning their own vegetables. Unfortunately, the white underside of the metal lids on these jars is also lined with BPA.
“We know BPA leaches when it comes in contact with the food,” said Anila Jacob of the Environmental Working Group. “One thing you can do is try not to fill the jar all the way up to the top, but that’s hard because when you move it, it’s going to shake.”
People canning at home might try glass or BPA-free certified plastic lids. Meanwhile, Jacob suggests another action that all of us can take to help reduce our exposure: contact the FDA and ask for a ban on BPA.
“The more the FDA hears about it, the more likely they are to take action,” she said. “We know there are safer options.”
Sources for this story include: http://www.grist.org/article/2010-0….
This article was posted: Monday, November 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm