TOUCHED BY LYME: BPA in canned food can disrupt endocrine system

12th November 2009

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BPA--a toxic chemical in plastics--is often used in canning food. According to the Environmental Working Group, the substance leaches into the food from the can, and then into our bodies, where it can seriously disrupt the endocrine system. Recent research turns up troubling results.

By now, most of us have been alerted to the dangers of drinking from plastic water bottles containing the chemical BPA. And have thrown out those BPA-laden baby bottles and teething rings. But now, along comes a study that shows BPA is used in the lining of most canned foods—and nearly all Americans are contaminated with it to some degree.

 

BPA is a chemical used in plastics. The problem is, it gets in to your body and disrupts your endocrine system—and then all heck can break loose.

 

Here’s what an advocacy organization called the Environmental Working Group has to say about it:

When people ask whether modern synthetics are damaging their health and endangering future generations, Topic A is nearly always bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen, an integral component of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins and one of the highest volume industrial chemicals in existence.

Now a ground-breaking study released in the journal Human Reproduction offers what its authors call “the first evidence that exposure to BPA in the workplace could have an adverse effect on male sexual dysfunction.”

BPA factory workers suffer sexual problems

The scientific team, underwritten by Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research in Oakland, CA., spent five years studying 634 Chinese factory workers whose bodies had been severely contaminated with BPA.

Animal studies link BPA to extraordinary array of subtle but serious chronic health problems, including impairment of the ability to think and behave normally, reproductive and cardiovascular system damage, cancer, diabetes, asthma and obesity. Evidence of BPA’s impact on human health has been more elusive – which is why the Kaiser Permanente study is making headlines around the globe.

After a year of being bombarded with BPA, the Chinese workers reported disturbing sexual problems: four times as much erectile dysfunction and seven times as many ejaculation difficulties as a control group, the Kaiser team found.

Nearly all Americans are BPA-positive

Most people don’t experience BPA exposure nearly as intense as the factory workers. But nearly all Americans test positive for low-level BPA contamination, as evidenced by body burden testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Working Groupand other academic and non-profit organizations.

The EWG reports that most of the BPA in Americans’ bodies is believed to have leached into food from the linings of cans, baby and drink bottles, sippy cups and other food containers.

Laboratory tests commissioned by EWG in 2007 found BPA in 20 out of 28 brands of canned food and drink, including B&M, Bush’s Best, Campbell’s Condensed (soup), Campbell’s Chunky, Campbell’s SpaghettiOs, Chef Boyardee, Chicken of the Sea, Coca-Cola, Del Monte, Dole, Ensure, Green Giant, Kroger store brand, Libby’s, Nestle Carnation, Pepsi-Cola, Progresso, S&W, Slim-Fast, Swanson and Wolfgang Puck.

Consumers Reports recently  did its own testing:

Consumer Reports’ latest tests of canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, have found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods we tested contain some BPA. The canned organic foods we tested did not always have lower BPA levels than nonorganic brands of similar foods analyzed. We even found the chemical in some products in cans that were labeled “BPA-free.”

This is obviously a troubling issue for anyone who ever eats food from a can or drinks water from a bottle. But it should be of particular concern to Lyme patients, who are already suffering toxic effects of the pathogens in their body. Ingesting chemicals that screw up the endocrine system can only make things much much worse.

The Environmental Working Group website delves into this and related matters deeply. I highly recommend you educate yourself about this serious matter.

Contact Dorothy Kupcha Leland at dleland@lymedisease.org.

 

 

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