A new study has found that the majority of our exposure to dangerous synthetic hormones, namely Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are canned foods. The urine of subjects eating canned foods and fresh foods were tested to check for levels of these hormone disruptors.
According to the study:
"Twenty participants in five families [were selected] based on self-reported use of canned and packaged foods. Participants ate their usual diet, followed by three days of "fresh foods" that were not canned or packaged in plastic, and then returned to their usual diet. We collected evening urine samples over eight days in January 2010 and composited them into pre-intervention, intervention, and post-intervention samples."
The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found concentrations of BPA were reduced by 66 percent and concentrations of phthalates were reduced by between 53 and 56 percent just by eating fresh foods. Though the study was unclear about amounts.
BPA and phthalates are chemicals that have been associated with endocrine disruption in animals and in some human studies. According to the Washington Post, more than 200 studies have connected BPA to a range of health concerns, including cancer and developmental and reproductive problems and it's already banned in certain products in some U.S. cities.
When it comes to canned foods, I am guilty in a pinch of eating canned beans but after this study, maybe not so much. This article Rachel wrote on safe and unsafe canned foods is also helpful. It's worth mentioning that Eden Foods has been BPA free since 1999. But just because it's organic doesn't mean it's free of synthetic hormones. Muir Glen, Amy's, Bionaturae, and S&W Organic all do use BPA in their canned foods, according to Rachel's article.
But for the most part it's difficult to avoid these hormone disruptors in canned foods, in fact 92 percent of them have BPA. The best way to avoid these and other additives is to eat fresh foods whenever possible.
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