Tests Show Cancer-Causing Chemical In Some Canned Foods

Laboratory tests requested by 10News showed a cancer-causing chemical found in cans of food on San Diego store shelves.

  • Read:Lab Test Results
  • Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been shown in animal studies to be linked to cancer, obesity, reproductive problems, diabetes and heart disease.

    BPA is part of the epoxy lining in cans, which is meant to keep the food fresh and prevent it from interacting with the metal which can alter the taste.

    The Centers for Disease Control reports as little as 9 parts per billion of BPA has caused animal cells to mutate.

    Bay Area-based Anresco Laborties tested canned goods 10News purchased at local stores.

    The lab tested a can of Bush's Best Black Beans and found the concentration of BPA was 10.5 parts per billion.

    In the same test of a can of Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli, the concentration of BPA was 261 parts per billion.

    ConAgra, which owns Chef Boyardee, told 10News the company is working to convert to non-BPA lined cans.

    "We are confident it is safe," ConAgra Vice President Theresa Paulson said. "We are changing because of consumer interest in BPA."

    Bush Brothers and Company said they "are and will continue to be in full compliance with the FDA"

    The Food and Drug Administration has expressed "some concern" about BPA, but has done nothing to limit its use.

    Connie Engle of the nonprofit National Breast Cancer Fund feels that is a mistake. Her group studied how BPA affects the human body.

    "When we take it in, the body reads it either as something that's pushing the same buttons that our own hormones do, or it's disrupting how those hormones work," Engle said.

    The report from the fund released last month looked at 700 products and found BPA in canned foods is a major problem. The study also found problems with hard plastic water containers that use BPA.

    Lawmaker efforts to limit BPA in products took a hit this week. Sen. Dianne Feinstein had hoped to add an amendment to the proposed federal food safety bill that would ban BPA in baby bottles and "sippy" cups. She announced Wednesday that the chemical industry has blocked her attempt to get the necessary votes.

    After learning the results of the lab testing, the following statement was issued by Teresa A. Paulsen, vice president of communication & external relations with ConAgra:

    Chef Boyardee is safe to eat and enjoy. While the levels of BPA found by your lab are considerably higher than other results found for this product line, including results previously found by the same lab you used, your findings still do not pose any health risk to consumers of any age.

    *This report was modified on 11/19/10 to correct the units of measure in the lab test results for Bush's Best Black Beans and Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli. The test results for Bush's Best Black Beans found that an entire 15 oz. can of Bush's Best Black Beans had 4,462.5 nanograms of BPA and not 4,462.5 parts per billion of BPA as originally incorrectly reported. The test results for Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli found that an entire 15 oz. can of Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli had 110,925 nanograms of BPA and not 110,925 parts per billion of BPA as originally incorrectly reported.