SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Avoiding food packaging made with bisphenol A (BPA) ca lower the amount of that chemical found in some people by up to 75 percent, suggests a study of five families.
Researchers from the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute tracked levels of BPA, an estrogen-mimicking chemical linked to a range of health disorders, in San Francisco residents as they changed their eating habits to avoid BPA.
By switching to a three-day diet that minimized canned food and plastic packaging — BPA is found in the epoxy resins in cans, the hard plastic in some bottles and other materials — 20 people in families of four cut the BPA in their bodies by an average of 66 percent, compared to tests before and after changing their diet.
"A couple went down by tiny amounts, a couple went up," said Janet Gray, a science advisor with the Breast Cancer Fund. "These really were very tiny changes, in either direction, compared to the substantial changes seen in those people who started with higher BPA levels from their normal diets."
The person with the highest level of BPA at the start of the study saw a 75 percent drop in how much of the chemical was in their body. As for those with tiny crops in BPA, Gray said it's likely they were already little food that came into contact with BPA in packaging.
The World Health Organization has named food the primary way that humans are exposed to BPA, but BPA can also get into bodies through some receipts, household dust and other goods made with the chemical.
The researchers noted that even though they had caterers prepare the low-BPA meals for families, food could have be exposed to BPA in other stages of processing and preparation, and partipants in the study noted where they consumed food or drink that might have affected their levels of BPA.
Some food makers have found BPA-free can liners to use, and others are supporting studies into alternatives, though as a whole the move to BPA-free liners has been stifled by the amount of funding and time need to research liners that would work with various types of foods. And some companies that want to move to BPA-free cans are pushing their suppliers to find new liners without putting any money towards research.
The BPA avoidance test also found one type of phthalate, a chemical that makes plastic soft and has been targeted for reduction in kid's products by U.S. law, went down by half when the participants switched to low-BPA diets.
The study is being published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal.
Soup cans - CC license by 2493™ (Flickr)