By Barbara Kessler

BPA or Bisphenol A, the plastic additive that has been found to leach from hard plastic water and baby bottles when they are heated, also is released when certain disposable containers labeled as “microwave safe” are heated, according to an analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The newspaper tested 10 disposable food containers, heating them and then testing the contents for BPA. It found that BPA leached from all of the containers, including some labeled as plastics numbers 1, 2 and 5, and not just those labeled as number 7, the identifier for polycarbonate plastic known to contain BPA.
The tests included frozen dinners, microwavable soups, baby and toddler foods – all packed in plastics that could presumably be heated.

The amounts leached were small – in parts per trillion in some cases – but were present at the same levels as those that caused neurological and developmental damage in lab animals.

“There is no such thing as safe microwaveable plastic,” said Frederick vom Saal, the University of Missouri researcher who oversaw the newspaper’s testing and whom the paper quoted in its article published today.

The American Chemistry Council said the newspaper report was a “serious disservice by drawing a conclusion about product safety that simply cannot be drawn from either this study or the overall body of scientific research,” according to the Journal Sentinel article by Susanne Rust and Meg Kissinger.

Food company officials say the doses detected in the tests are so low that they are insignificant to human health.

“These levels are EXTREMELY low,” wrote John Faulkner, director of brand communications for Campbell Soup Co., noting that “you might just be able to find similar levels in plain old tap water due to ‘background levels’…”

Tests of the company’s Just Heat & Enjoy tomato soup showed its container leached some of the lowest levels of BPA found in the analysis. (To see all the items tested, read the sidebar to the article.)

The article also quoted scientists as saying that extremely small levels of BPA were still concerning because it mimics estrogen and acts at a cellular level. Babies are especially vulnerable because they are developing and their bodies are so small.

The newspaper also surveyed 21 studies of BPA going back two decades, finding that all but four, found damage to mammals at doses similar to those found in their tests.

How to avoid BPA, which is also found in the resin lining in most canned goods:

  • Use glass to heat food
  • Don’t use plastic wrap over food being microwaved
  • Don’t wash plastics in the dishwasher — plastic can leach increasing amounts of BPA as it degrades with use
  • Buy products in paper containers
  • Mothers of babies should not heat formula in plastic bottles, and should consider breastfeeding

Copyright © 2008 | Distributed by Noofangle Media