Canned…Good?

| January 24, 2010

Many of you probably have heard about BPA and its potential harmful effects on humans. If BPA is so bad for you, why did it take the FDA 80 years to say something? WTF?

BPA, or Bisphenol A, is an organic compound, a chemical that is used in many food packages, such as the lining of cans, baby bottles, and water bottles. It’s used because it’s lightweight, durable, and versatile. But BPA has been suspected of being bad for humans starting in the 1930s. Since it mimics the body’s hormones, research over the decades have found correlations between exposure and negative health effects, from infant brain development, obesity, cancer, sexual dysfunction…and also bad for the ecology. In Japan, industry VOLUNTARILY (strange concept, eh?) removed BPA lining 10 years ago.

Source: Wikipedia

Prior to January 10, 2010, the FDA assured the public that there was no risk to human. In On January 10, 2010, the FDA announced:

“on the basis of results from recent studies using novel approaches to test for subtle effects, both the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health and FDA have some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.”

SOME concern? Yikes! Even if you don’t care about the environment, maybe you care about pregnant moms and babies? OK, maybe you don’t care about babies, how about getting fat? OK, how about messing up your sex lives?

What can you do?

  • Educate yourself about what companies are doing to ensure your foodstuffs are BPA-free.

Stay up to date with sites like the Bisphenol A Free with news, product reviews, and downloadable guides to protect you and your family. Whole Foods has been blogging about their efforts to ensure transparency. Bloggers like ZRecs review baby-safe, BPA-free prodcuts.

  • Stay away from #7 plastics (look at the bottom), including food containers and water bottles (buying bottled water is another issue for another time).

A couple years ago, I started hearing about this, recycled any plastic bottles, and switched to SIGG bottles. I spent a nice little chunk of change for my pretty little bottle and even bought Cake Mountain Man his own.

Then last year, reports came out that the original SIGG bottles weren’t safe. Now they have come out with BPA-free bottles and I’ve heard they even replace your old ones. I admit, though, mine now sits in the back of my shelf because I bought it before 2008.

  • Find out which companies are or going BPA-free. Use glass jars rather than plastic or canned, especially for tomatoes.

ZomppaPatty uses the Lucini brand and has a great recipe for pizza sauce here. My parents always told me to avoid canned tomatoes, but they never had an explanation other than it’s “bad for you.” Guess they may have been on to something. The high acidity of tomatoes can lead to greater leaching of BPA. Glass tomatoes are hard to find, but if I can’t use fresh or frozen tomatoes (ones that I do), I use bionaturae. Yes, it’s more expensive, but I figure I might as well spend a bit more now than pay thousands of dollars in medical care later on.

  • Don’t microwave plastic containers.

I recycled all my plastic containers and use Pyrex to cook, freeze, heat my food. Yes, they’re heavier than plastic, but they don’t get that funky smell or that discoloration.

  • Carry your own utensils – especially for infants.

I carry around these fabulous collapsible bamboo chopsticks. Granted, I don’t always use them, but they fit in my little bag (I don’t carry a purse, so yes, they’re small).

Are the studies conclusive on BPA? No. But now the FDA is serious about investigating it. In the meantime, stay aware and the results? TBA.

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Category: Featured Articles: Food Politics, Featured Articles: Health & Nutrition, Food Politics, Health & Nutrition

About the Author (Author Profile)

With a flair for spontaneity, pizzazz, creative excellence and her own unique sense of aesthetic grace and perspective, we have our very dear friend, Belinda (or B, to some of us). Although an incredibly accomplished professional and career woman, B’s down-to-earth approach and demeanor transcends all scenarios, communities and people. She manifests, in her day-to-day, the essence of the word “Zomppa” as demonstrated by her extraordinary commitment to creating sustainable and positive change for us and future generations to come. She’s asked for a dog every year since she was five. Check out Belinda’s work on global education research and coaching: www.hummingbirdrcc.com or more about her portfolio www.belindachiu.com.

Comments (8)

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  1. Christine says:

    B – Thank you for the detail in this post. For most of my life I’ve been fortunate to stay away from bottled water and microwaving plastics. I am still dismayed that it has become a standard to have plastic lined cans holding tomato products. I am hoping that glass becomes the new standard.

  2. Great post, you’re right about the Pyrex containers, I will start to change my plastic ones. And the Japanese are amazing, they even got aspartame banned from their light sodas… I envy them!

  3. Jeanne says:

    Thanks for all the helpful information! I gave up plastic bottles and plastic food storage a while ago, but I still can’t find tomatoes in glass jars. I’ll have to see if I can track down those brands that you mention.

  4. Kat says:

    Thanks Belinda for this important post. I must say though, that I generally think it best to stay away from microwaves in general, even with non-plastic containers…

  5. Belinda says:

    Thanks all for staying so aware! I just learned that Whole Foods lets you take your own glass jars to refill bulk items – pretty cool! Kat – funny, I actually grew up without a microwave – my folks still don’t have one!

  6. Ann says:

    Yes! I saw this on Dr. Oz’s episode about epigentics. Made me mad because I really like buying canned beans and tomatoes – though I do have the same brand of tomato sauce you show in the glass jar as well. Now I’m gonna have to soak my beans. Sigh. Well, when I’m done poisining the baby in my belly with all the canned stuff left in the pantry. Seriously.

  7. Belinda says:

    Ann – throw them out!!! =) Yeah, it’s a tough one…wish more moms (and moms-to-be) were like you!