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Canned food, packaged foods are major sources for BPA and phthalates

R.A. Rudel of Silent Spring Institute in Newton, MA published a study in the March 30 2011 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives suggesting that eating less canned and packaged foods or eating more "fresh food" reduces exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP).

BPA which is used in clear plastic food containers and food-can liners can damage male fertility, raise breast cancer risk, change behaviors and cause heart problems in women. 

Phthalates, used in many household products from vinyl floors to plastic tubing and soaps and lotions are pervasive in the environment and have already been linked to changes in development of the male brain, genital defects, metabolic abnormalities and reduced testosterone, the male sex hormone in babies and adults.

Twenty subjects from five families who used canned food and packaged food regularly participated in the study.  The researchers tested urine samples from the participants for BPA and phthalate metabolites when they ate regular diet with lots of canned food and packaged food, during three days of eating fresh foods, and then after they resumed their regular diet.

During the diet intervention, or use of fresh food, urine levels of BPA and DEHP metabolites were significantly lower. BPA was 3.7 ng/mL pre-intervention compared to 1.2 ng/mL during intervention while MEHHP, a metabolite of DEHP was 57 ng/mL pre-intervention compared to 25 ng/mL during intervention.

Using more fresh food and less canned and packaged food reduced BPA by 66 percent and DEHP metabolites by 53 to 56 percent, the researchers found.  The maximum reduction in BPA and DEHP metabolites was 76 percent and 93 to 96 percent respectively.

David Liu