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Environment and Outdoors

Study: BPA Found in Two-Thirds of Sampled Food Cans

BANGOR, Maine - Two-thirds of food cans sampled around the country, including in Maine, contain bisphenol A - or BPA - making canned foods a major source of the hormone-disrupting chemical.

That's according to a national study carried out by a coalition of health and consumer watchdogs on 200 tins of food, including name brands like Del Monte and Campbell's, as well as store brands like Walmart, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

"The can linings themselves were tested because that is the source of the BPA. It's in the epoxy resin linings," says Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, one of the partners in the study.  Belliveau says BPA readily leaches from the linings and into the food.  

One hundred percent of Campbell's cans tested positive for BPA, along with 71 percent of Del Monte's and about half of General Mills' products. "I'm surprised the food industry is not switching out more quickly, but the solutions are within reach," Belliveau says.

A day ago, Campbell's announced that it would phase out BPA in its cans by mid 2017, finding other options to create food-safe, bacteria resistant linings.

BPA can mimic estrogen in the body and has been linked to prostate cancer, hormonal anomalies, and obesity among other things.

According to the American Chemistry Council, the average American is exposed to 2.4 micrograms of BPA per day - far less than levels determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be safe. Amid concerns over developmental issues, the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and food packaging for infants in 2012.  However, the FDA has never declared the chemical, as currently used in manufacturing, to be unsafe.