(NaturalNews) The hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is found in high levels in canned food, a coalition of environmental groups has warned, sparking warnings from some doctors that pregnant women should avoid such products.
"Fresh fruits and vegetables may be more expensive, but I believe that the risk is too high not to spend the extra," said BPA researcher and obstetrician Hugh Taylor of Yale University, who advises pregnant women to avoid canned food.
"The entire life of that individual may be altered by a few months of BPA exposure in pregnancy. This is where the greatest risk lies."
BPA is an industrial chemical used to make plastic hard, as in water and infant bottles, and also to make liners for food and beverage cans. It has been strongly established as an estrogen mimic that disrupts the endocrine (hormonal) system, with potentially serious effects on development, the reproductive system and the brain. The U.S. National Toxicology Program recently ruled prenatal and childhood exposure to the chemical a cause for concern, prompting the FDA to revisit its decades-long stance that BPA is safe. The EPA has also declared it a chemical of concern.
In the new study, conducted by a coalition of 19 environmental groups known as the National Workgroup for Safe Markets, researchers found drastically different BPA levels even between different cans of the same product. For example, levels of BPA in cans of Del Monte French Style Green Beans varied from 36 to 138 micrograms per serving.
The higher concentrations detected have been linked with changes to the prostate gland and increased aggression in animal studies.
The workgroup has issued a report calling on Congress to ban all use of BPA in food and beverage containers. Already, five states, the city of Chicago and three New York counties have banned its use in some children's products.
"We are programming the hormonal response of the next generation," Taylor said. "The worst effects may not become apparent for years."