Fertility and pregnancy * Healthy living

Canned soup increases BPA levels

Canned soup increases BPA levels Chemical leaches into food, study suggests

Consuming canned soup has been linked to an increase in bisphenol A, a chemical which may be harmful to health.

Consuming a can of soup each day for five days increased the levels of bisphenol A (BPA) by more than 1000 per cent in urine, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health found.

Bisphenol A is an endocrine-disrupting chemical used in the linings of food and drinks cans and hard plastic water bottles, as well as dentistry sealants.

Past research has linked exposure to the chemical to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Animal studies have suggested that it may also interfere with male fertility.

"We've known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body.

"This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use," said Jenny Carwile, who led the study.

The researchers divided the volunteers into two groups; one group consumed a 12oz serving of canned soup every day for five days, while the other group was given fresh soup to eat. After a two day break, the groups were then reversed.

Tests on urine samples from 75 of the volunteers showed that a daily serving of canned soup led to a 1,221 per cent increase in BPA, compared with BPA levels in urine samples which were taken after eating fresh soup.

However, the researchers added that the high levels of BPA found in the urine samples may be a temporary effect, and that more research would be needed to find out how long the chemical persists in the body.

Study author Karin Michels said: "The magnitude of the rise in urinary BPA we observed after just one serving of soup was unexpected and may be of concern among individuals who regularly consume foods from cans or drink several canned beverages daily.

"It may be advisable for manufacturers to consider eliminating BPA from can linings."

The UK's Food Standards Agency said: "Our current advice is that BPA from food contact materials does not represent a risk to consumers but the agency will be looking at this study, as it would at any new piece of work, to see if it has any implications for our advice to consumers."

This article was published on Wed 23 November 2011

Image © aberenyi - Fotolia.com

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