According to a new report on bisphenol (BPA) in kids' canned food released today by the Breast Cancer Fund, Campbell's Disney Princess and Toy Story soups test highest for that toxin, which is typically used to harden plastic or make the linings of metal food cans. BPA has been linked to breast cancer, infertility and early puberty in girls, as well as prostate cancer in males and type-2 diabetes, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in both sexes.
Isn't that magic?
According to the report BPA exposure is of special concern in children "because this endocrine-disrupting chemical can affect children's hormonal systems during development and set the stage for later‐life diseases."
Campbell's wasn't the only offender, nor was Disney. Even organic brands contain BPA, though in far less parts per billion (ppb): Earth's Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup had 38 ppb (the Princess pasta had 114) and Annie's Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli weighed in at 31 ppb. Campbell's Spaghettios (with meatballs!) fared better than both at 13 ppb. According to William Goodson, Senior Clinical Research Scientists at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, who just last week published a study showing that BPA causes non-cancerous cells to grow and survive like cancer cells, "We're all part of a big experiment to see what BPA will do to our kids and us."
Not me, baby.
As a mom--and, hell, as a human being--I'm more disgusted than ever that these products, which claim overtly or subtly to be healthy for our kids, not only are loaded with sugar, salt and, often, fat, but now with carcinogens. And since the exposure is cumulative, eating a can or two of kid chow won't hurt you, but a lifetime of canned goods may be another story. If Disney and Pixar and Sesame Workshop care about kids the way they SAY they do, they should immediately insist on safer packaging or pull their licenses.
You may recall BPA as the stuff that was in baby bottles and water bottles. Public outrage--especially from parents of infants--encouraged manufacturers to voluntarily change that (although it's not always clear what they're using instead). 10 states have restricted BPA in baby food containers, though not in canned food. Meanwhile, the Canadian government declared BPA toxic in 2010, though it had already banned the substance in baby bottles two years earlier.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass. has authored a bill that, if it passes, would ban BPA from all food and beverage containers. Meanwhile, better safe than sorry. Get your food fresh. Get it in boxes. Get it frozen. Get Tetra Paks. And when you can: can the can....
Here are Breast Cancer Fund People discussing the findings.
And here, in case you're interested, is a refutation.