(NaturalNews) A test performed by Canada's national health regulatory agency, Health Canada, has turned up detectable levels of the hormone-disrupting compound bisphenol A (BPA) in 96 percent of canned soft drinks.
BPA is an industrial chemical used to make plastics hard and transparent, as in water or baby bottles, or to make resins for lining cans of food, beverages or baby formula. It has been shown to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, and has been linked to a variety of reproductive and developmental defects. In October, Canada banned the substance from baby bottles.
The agency tested 72 different undisclosed brands of energy drinks, diet and non-diet soda, fruit-flavored beverages and other soft drinks and found that all but three tested positive for BPA. Two bottles of tonic water tested negative, the researchers noted, perhaps because the bittering agent interfered with the ability to detect BPA in the sample. One energy drink had no detectable levels, which the researchers could not explain.
In general, energy drinks had the highest levels of the chemical.
The 72 beverage brands tested represent 84 percent of all soft drinks sold in Canada, the researchers said. All cans were purchased from Ottawa stores in April 2007.
The average soft drink contained BPA levels of approximately 0.5 parts per billion. Health Canada has declared that because these levels are so low -- 500 times below the nationally set "safe exposure" threshold -- there is no cause for consumer concern. Yet estrogen, which BPA mimics, is known to be biologically active at concentrations like those found in the drinks.
"The chemical is known to cause significant biological effects at incredibly low levels," said Rick Smith of Environmental Defense. "And this is not the only source of this chemical in our daily lives. If it was the only source, Health Canada might have a leg to stand on."