On March 30, 2016 six non-profit organizations released a report entitled “Buyer beware – Toxic BPA and regrettable substitutes found in the linings of canned food” on a newly launched online platform with the same title. The report was prepared by the Breast Cancer Fund, Environmental Justice for All, Clean Production Action, Ecology Center, Environmental Defence (Canada), and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and aimed to determine the presence of bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) in food cans. In the scope of this investigation, canned food was collected in 19 U.S. states and one Canadian province. The interior coatings and lids of 192 cans containing vegetables, fruits, soups, broth, gravy, milks, and beans were analyzed. The analysis showed that 129 out of the 192 tested cans contained BPA-based epoxy in the coating and/or the lid. Apart from BPA-based epoxy, four other coating types were identified among the 192 cans tested: Acrylic resins, oleoresin, polyester resins, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) copolymers.
In light of their results, the authors express their disappointment that “food manufacturers both large and small are not making good on their promises to discontinue use of BPA.” Further, regarding alternative coating types, the authors are concerned that “retailers and brands could be replacing BPA-based epoxy with regrettable substitutes.” They consider PVC-based copolymer ”clearly a regrettable substitute, because PVC is a polymer made from vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen.” Also, many of the acrylic linings contained polystyrene, “a plastic made from the styrene monomer which is considered a possible human carcinogen,” the authors note. This is of concern because “all plastics contain some level of residual or unreacted monomer,” the authors state.
In conclusion, the authors call on food brands, retailers, and can-lining suppliers to “commit to eliminating and safely substituting BPA from all food packaging, replacing it with safer alternatives, and establishing public timelines and benchmarks for the transition.”
Migration of BPA and other coating constituents into the food was not tested in the scope of this investigation.
Buyer Beware (March 30, 2016). “Two out of three food cans tested have toxic BPA in the linings, new report says.”
Tony Iallonardo (March 30, 2016). “Buyer beware: You might be eating food from cans lined with toxic BPA.” EcoWatch
HEAL (March 31, 2016). “Two-thirds of food-can linings contain BPA.”
CBC News (March 31, 2016). “BPA still found in most food can linings: report.”
Sylvain Charlebois (April 2, 2016). “Bisphenol A is one can not to kick down the road.” The Globe and Mail
Breast Cancer Fund, Environmental Justice for All, Clean Production Action, Ecology Center, Environmental Defence (Canada) & Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (March 30, 2016).
“Buyer beware – Toxic BPA and regrettable substitutes found in the linings of canned food.” (pdf)