NLM Director's Comments Transcript - BPA, Soup Cans and Health
NLM Director's Comments Transcript
BPA, Soup Cans and Health: 01/10/2012
While an intriguing study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds adults who ate canned soup experienced a 1200 percent spike in BPA levels (compared to adults who ate fresh soup), the broader health implications of the findings have yet to be determined.The BPA spike was found in the urine of 75 study participants, who switched between eating 12-ounce servings of fresh or canned vegetable soup for five consecutive days – plus a two day hiatus between trials. The study's participants were not otherwise restricted in their food consumption. The study found a similar spike in BPA levels within both groups after eating a canned, nationally available, vegetable soup.
In the study, the authors (who are from the Harvard School of Public Health) write (and we quote): 'the absolute urinary BPA concentrations observed following canned soup consumption are among the most extreme reported in a nonoccupational setting' (end of quote).
Overall, the study's authors expressed surprise at the extent of the spike in BPA levels among canned soup eaters to the New York Times and other news services. In addition, the authors carefully attributed the lining of the can (not the soup) as responsible for the BPA spike.
The study's five authors note high BPA levels (allegedly derived from food containers, such as cans, bottles and other sources) have been associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes in previous research. NLM's Tox Town web site reports BPA (also known as bisphenol A) is a chemical routinely found in the lining of metal food and beverage cans as well as plastic bottles.
Tox Town reports Bisphenol A is an endocrine disrupter that interferes with the production of hormone activity within the human endocrine system. Tox Town adds more research is needed about the specific impacts of exposure to BPA (from cans, plastic bottles plus other sources) upon human development and health.
The study's authors acknowledge the lingering effects and health consequences are unknown from a spike in BPA by eating canned soup. They write (and we quote): 'the increase in urinary BPA concentrations following canned soup consumption is likely a transient peak of yet uncertain duration' (end of quote).
Although the authors suggest the spike in BPA levels from canned soup may occur regardless of manufacturer, they note the study only assessed one brand of canned vegetable soup. The authors also concede the generalizability of the study's findings are unknown since the study had 75 participants.
Since the study did not assess the health impacts of high BPA levels on study participants, the authors emphasize the findings' broader implications should foster new research about food containers, BPA levels, and health risks.
In the interim, Medlineplus.gov and Tox Town provide gateways to understanding research about the impact of BPA, exposure to other environmental chemicals, and health. Specifically, Tox Town's BPA (or bisphenol A) page provides a one-stop clearinghouse of research from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Tox Town's BPA (or bisphenol A) page is within the 'Specific Conditions' section of MedlinePlus.gov's environmental health health topic page. A link to the Tox Town website (that provides similar information about other chemicals and environmental health) is within the 'Start Here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's environmental health health topic page.
Additional evidence about the impact of endocrine disrupters on health (provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) also is available within the 'Specific Conditions' section of MedlinePlus.gov's environmental health health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov's environmental health health topic page contains other, updated research summaries, which are available in the 'research' section. Links to the latest pertinent journal research articles are available in the 'journal articles' section. Links to related clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the 'clinical trials' section.
To find MedlinePlus.gov's environmental health health topic page, type 'environmental health' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'environmental health (National Library of Medicine).'
MedlinePlus.gov also contains a health topic page devoted to food safety issues. To find MedlinePlus.gov's food safety health topic page, type 'food safety' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'food safety (National Library of Medicine).'
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A disclaimer – the information presented in this program should not replace the medical advice of your physician. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your physician or other health care provider. I want to take the opportunity to wish you a very happy holiday season and a healthy New Year. The National Library of Medicine and the 'Director's Comments' podcast staff, including Dr. Lindberg, appreciate your interest and company – and we hope to find new ways to serve you in 2012.
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