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

Garden decorations. Old pots with flowers in the garden
Three ways to save those summer tropicals for next year

If you are attached to your plants or want to save a few bucks, you don’t have to throw out your containers.

The Gothard Sisters will perform at the Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater on Sept. 19 in Snohomish. From left, Greta, Solana and Willow Gothard. (Ruth Vanden Bos)
Edmonds’ Gothard Sisters return to stage with new original music

The trio’s songs include one inspired by an Old West legend. You can hear them Sept. 19 in Snohomish.

Quinn Fitzgerald
New hosts take the reins at Everett’s weekly comedy showcase

Adam Tiller and Quinn “Lil’ Q” Fitzgerald now host the Monday-night stand-up sessions at Tony V’s in Everett.

Frikart’s aster is loaded with lavender-blue flowers from midsummer to autumn. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’ aka Frikart’s aster

This long-blooming aster is loaded with lavender-blue flowers from midsummer to autumn.

Nearly 20% of material thrown away is recyclable paper and cardboard. You can make a difference by putting these items in the recycling bin. (Waste Management)
Turn over new leaf: Take quiz to find out how to reduce waste

Waste Management shares some ideas to help you keep recycleables and foodstuffs out of the trash this fall.

This 1930 Palmer Cox Brownie Ten Pin Set with 12-inch-high paper and wood Brownies sold at Bertoia Auctions for $354. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
Brownies toys were based on children’s books circa 1879

The popular characters were featured as paper dolls, trade cards, rubber stamps, card games, puzzles and cloth dolls.

Wendy and Matt Poischbeg’s mid-century modern home will be featured on this year’s Historic Everett Home Tour. The virtual tour of four historic homes has been postponed. Check The Daily Herald for more information. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)
Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

Andy Bronson / The Herald
The Tokyo Classic burger is the most popular menu item at Katsu Burger, because it’s the most like an American burger, business owner Hannah Ha says.
Now you can make Katsu Burger’s best-selling burger at home

Chef-owner Hannah Ha of the Lake Stevens store says the Tokyo Classic is the most popular menu item.

A tray of grilled delights; clockwise from top right, Cheeseburgers, Mustard-Lime Steak, Tandoori Chicken, and Grilled Asparagus With Olive Oil and Parmesan, on Wednesday, August 11, 2021. (Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)
Make it count: We have one last weekend of summertime grilling

There’s still time for you to grill asparagus, cheeseburgers, tandoori chicken and mustard lime steaks.

Most Read