Scary soup study

For the study, conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, 75 volunteers ate soup for lunch for five days while the other half ate fresh soup with no canned ingredients. After a two day wash out period, they switched.

After testing the urine levels of those who ate canned soup, researchers found levels of Bisphenol-A (BPA) were a whopping 13 times higher than the fresh soup group — an increase of 1,221 per cent.

The synthetic chemical Bisphenol-A has been used for decades as a resin lining to preserve food and beverages in cans and to harden plastic. It has been linked to heart disease and diabetes in people, and is known to disrupt estrogen levels in animals.

While Canada banned use of the chemical in baby bottles in 2008 and declared BPA toxic in 2010, the debate on its harmfulness still continues. The American Chemistry Council says only massive exposure to the chemical has proved to be harmful, claiming that most of the chemicals in humans are flushed out quickly. The organization also notes that without BPA, convenient and inexpensive canned foods and plastic products would not exist.

A similar study in 2009 showed similar results, with a 66 per cent increase in BPA levels in volunteers who spent a week drinking from plastic bottles. Another study showed that exposure to BPA in the womb can increase behavior problems in girls by age 3.

Dr. Jennifer Carwile, lead author of the study, told the Star: “Very little has been done with cans — they haven’t been on the radar recently. Now they are. I appreciate that canned foods are convenient and inexpensive. But consumers need to know what they’re being exposed to. This study isn’t about one brand of canned soup, this is about canned food.”

When randomly tested, BPA was found in 92 per cent of canned goods no matter the content or price, so there is virtually impossible to avoid it if you are eating canned foods.

Sources:, Journal of the American Medical Association, Harvard School of Public Health

Photo © skhoward

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