Wth smart choices, you can manage your intake of BPA.

Chemical is often found in plastic containers and canned foods like fruit, pasta and fish.

By Kim Larson

Nutrition Scoop

Bisphenol A,or BPA, is a chemical widely used in consumer products — everything from water bottles made of hard plastic polycarbonate to canned foods like canned fruits, vegetables, pasta, soups and more. Is BPA safe? How much is too much?

There’s an ongoing debate on the safety of BPA and its potential to cause significant health risk. BPA can disrupt the normal function of hormones in our body. Studies show it may have other adverse health effects associated with diabetes, fertility, cardiovascular disease and even obesity.

The Environmental Protection Agency sets 50 micrograms per kilogram body weight per day as a safe dose. Although we all have BPA in our bodies, the hazardous levels associated with adverse effects have been thought to be much higher than what most people are exposed to. This theory is now being called into question as the EPA and the Food &Drug Administration re-evaluate these levels along with emerging research.

Both the FDA and the National Toxicology Program agree that the potential adverse health effects are cause for concern. Overall, the risk at current levels of exposure from all sources is three to five times under the toxicity level estimated to have adverse effects, so there is no cause for alarm with normal consumption and usage patterns.

BPA is banned in all plastic baby bottles, cups and foods and drinks for kids younger than 3. It’s also banned in sports drinks.

Why is BPA ubiquitous in our canned food supply? Because its presence in the linings of cans helps to prevent contamination and food-borne illness.

A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research evaluated the consumption of different canned foods and urinary BPA levels in 7,669 people, part of the National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey 2003-2008. Results showed higher BPA urinary concentrations from canned fruits and vegetables (41 percent, canned pasta (71 percent) and canned soups (229 percent). Canned beverages, as well as fish and meats, were not associated with urinary BPA levels. These results can serve as a guide to consumers when choosing canned foods and how often to eat them.

Studies are under way right now to further evaluate toxicity and exposure to BPA and its effects on health.

It’s clear from many studies that what we eat affects BPA levels in our body. If you are concerned, take a prudent approach. Here are tips to help you reduce your exposure to BPA as much as possible:

Eat as many fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables as you can.

Avoid buying canned soups and canned pastas — make your own.

Continue to buy and use the canned foods we know have proven health benefits, like vegetables, beans, tomato products and fish. The health benefits far outweigh the small risk.

Switch to glass or porcelain food containers to reheat or store food.

Check your plastic containers for the number “7,” which indicates it may have BPA. If you see a PC with it, that confirms it contains BPA. Look for BPA-free containers.

Eat a variety of foods to ensure you are not relying upon only canned food sources for your daily nutrition.

Kim Larson is a registered dietitian nutritionist, founder of Total Health, www.totalhealthrd.com, and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition &Dietetics.

Talk to us

More in Life

Even if you haven’t watered your landscape in the past 100 days, or watered very little, get outside and give your plants a good soak. (Getty Images)
It’s dry out there, so water your yard — please!

After 100 days of no precipitation, your garden badly needs a drink. So grab a hose and get to work — it’s well worth the slightly higher water bills.

The all-new Kia Sportage X-Pro model comes standard with all-terrain tires and 17-inch matte black off-road wheels. (Kia)
2023 Kia Sportage has two new models aimed at the outdoorsy

The X-Pro and X-Pro Prestige have all-terrain tires, all-wheel drive, and all kinds of ground clearance.

Women came from all over the Pacific Northwest to “glamp” and raise money to send girls to Girl Scout Camp from Sept. 16-18. The next opportunity to glamp at Camp River Ranch will be Sept. 8-10, 2023. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Women’s glamping retreat raises money to send local girls to camp

I’ve been the camper, the counselor, the Girl Scout leader and the mom. Now, I was the glamper.

Abelia 'Edward Goucher' (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Abelia ‘Edward Goucher’

This shrub blooms from summer to late autumn, which will make the pollinators happy.

What does it mean to be a purveyor of public power?

Next week, The Snohomish County PUD and utilities across the country will celebrate Public Power Week.

This quilt features an American flag with 36 stars, indicating that it was made about 1865. Most antique quilts are harder to date.
Tips for estimating an unsigned vintage quilt’s true age

If you can see dark spots in the quilt when held up to a strong light or sunny window, they may be cotton seeds. Some collectors claim that this means the quilt was made before the invention of the cotton gin in 1793.

Making your own WM truck costume takes only a few supplies and can be recycled when you’re done with it. (Courtesy Waste Management)
Green is the new orange: sustainable Halloween celebrations

Spooky season is here: costumes line the shelves at department stores, and… Continue reading

People stroll along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, one of Europe’s most interesting historic walks, as Edinburgh Castle looms in the distance. (Rick Steves' Europe)
Edinburgh, the cultural heart of Scotland, packs a cultural punch

Once a medieval powerhouse, it is today one of Europe’s most lively and festive cities.

Dan Neumeyer peers out the window of his Hummingbird Yurt. (David Welton)
Otherworldly structures constructed on Whidbey Island

The small buildings — yurts, with a Western twist — were built by Earth dweller Dan Neumeyer.

Most Read