Chemical BPA Often Found in Children’s Canned Soups and Meals: Study

A new study has found that cans used in many lines of children’s soups and other meals contain bisphenol A (BPA), which is suspected of causing disruptions to the human endocrine system and developmental problems, even though there is no indication of the chemical on any of the food labels. 

The Breast Cancer Fund released a report called “BPA in Kids’ Canned Food” (pdf) last week, which found BPA in the lining of a number of different food products marketed for children. As a result, the Breast Cancer Fund has launched a new campaign called “Cans Not Cancer” in an effort to convince manufacturers to change how they manufacture canned children’s products.

Researchers noted that the study specifically looked at canned foods targeted at children and found BPA used in every can. The group labels BPA as toxic and says it has been linked in laboratory studies to breast cancer.

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The products tested by the researchers include:

  • Annie’s Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli
  • Campbell’s Disney Princess Cool Shapes Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
  • Campbell’s Spaghettios with Meatballs
  • Campbell’s Toy Story Fun Shapes Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
  • Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta, Mini ABC’s & 123’s with Meatballs
  • Earth’s Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup

Two cans of each product were sent to Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco. The Campbell’s products tested the highest, with one can of Disney Princess chicken soup having BPA levels of 148 parts per billion (ppb) and a can of its Toy Story chicken soup having 90 ppb. However, the Campbell’s Spaghettios with Meatballs tested as having the lowest levels of BPA, with one can only containing 10 ppb.

According to the Breast Cancer Fund, even low doses of BPA, such as those detected in the soup cans, can increase the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, infertility, type-2 diabetes and can specifically increase the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and can cause early puberty in young girls. 

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is used to make many plastic products hard and shatterproof. Originally developed as a form of synthetic estrogen, it is used in the manufacture of many consumer products, such as bottles, cups, can liners, baby products and other food containers.

Exposure to BPA has long been suspected of causing hormonal changes by impacting the human endocrine system. It has also been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Some prior research has also suggested that BPA side effects can cause developmental abnormalities and other problems over time in infants and young children.

Last year, the FDA recommended that parents take “reasonable steps” to reduce infant exposure to BPA. The federal regulatory agency is currently conducting a re-evaluation of the safety of BPA, after previously indicating that exposure to the levels used in consumer products is safe. The new review was initiated in June 2009 after the FDA received substantial criticism from outside groups, politicians and its own scientists.


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