BPA found in kid-friendly canned foods: Cause for alarm?

BPA sounds like the tag letters for an airport, but it's actually shorthand for a potentially scary and little-understood chemical called bisphenol A. Preliminary research has linked BPA to cancer, heart disease, and other serious ailments which explains the uproar awhile back when BPA was found in some plastic bottles and other products. So far, government scientists are being cagey about the potential risks of exposure to BPA. "While hundreds of studies have been done on bisphenol A, there are still many questions that need to be answered before we can better understand the potential for current exposures to affect human health," Dr. John R. Bucher, associate director of the National Toxicology Program, tells CBS News. In any case, consumers should know that BPA is showing up in all sorts of consumer products. Take a look at seven that may surprise you... istockphoto

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(CBS) In a finding that is stirring heated debate, BPA (bisphenol A) has been detected in several brands of child-friendly canned foods. The controversial chemical has been linked to breast cancer and other serious ailments.

PICTURES - BPA for lunch? 6 kid-friendly canned foods that flunked test

Researchers from the Breast Cancer Fund tested six brands of canned foods marketed directly at children and found BPA in all six.

The advocacy group decried the findings and urged food manufacturers to find alternatives to BPA, which is used to make a variety of products including baby bottles, water pipes, dental sealants, and food containers as well as the epoxy linings of food cans.

"Consider the number of servings of canned foods - soups, pastas, vegetables, fruits - that a child eats in a week, in a year, and then throughout her developing years, and you start to see the urgency of getting BPA out of food cans," the Fund's Gretchen Lee Salter said in a written statement.

What do medical experts say?

A 2008 review by the FDA found that the traces of BPA in foods posed no health risks, but there have been studies linking BPA to a range of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, infertility, and neurological disorders as well as breast cancer.

"This report shows that we're all part of a big experiment to see what BPA will do to our kids and us," a senior clinical research scientist at California Medical Center Research Institute, said in the statement. "We weren't given any choice about being in this experiment, and it's time for that to change."

In the meantime, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences suggests several precautions for people who are concerned about their BPA exposure. Item #3 on the list? Cut back on canned foods.

Which canned foods did the Breast Cancer Fund test? Which contained the most BPA?Click here to find out.

  • David W Freeman

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