Archived press release
Hormone disruptor found in can linings


A new survey by the Food Standards Agency, reported today in ENDS Report [1], shows that most canned food is contaminated by the proven hormone disrupting chemical bisphenol a [2]. The survey shows that everyday canned foods such as Heinz baked beans, Tesco Tuna and Sainsbury's fruit cocktail are contaminated with this chemical, which mimics female hormones and has been shown to affect development at low doses, for example enlarging the prostate gland of developing male mice. The highest levels were found in some cans of Prince's ham.

There is a scientific debate raging about what is a safe level for exposure to bisphenol a, with a number of scientists finding effects on animals at very low doses, only slightly higher than those that this survey estimates. However, the UK Government has been pushing at EU level for these 'low dose' studies to be ignored - but other Member States are pushing for a more precautionary approach [3].

Commenting, Friends of the Earth's Safer Chemicals Campaigner Dr Michael Warhurst said:
“These are disturbing results. The Government must put pressure on the canning industry and supermarkets to get rid of this risky chemical. In the mean time, the public has a right to know which cans contain this hormone disrupter.

The Government should stop protecting its friends in the chemical industry and start protecting our health.”

Notes

[1] 'Most canned food contains bisphenol A, study finds'. ENDS Report 315, April 2001. The Food Standards Agency's surveillance paper is available at: www.foodstandards.gov.uk/fsainfsheet/2001/no13/13bisp.htm

[2] Safer Chemicals Campaign web site: www.foe.co.uk/saferchemicals
Press briefings: www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/safer_chemicals/resource/media.html
More detailed information on bisphenol a: http://website.lineone.net/~mwarhurst/bisphenol.html

[3] 'UK regulators in storm over low-dose effects of bisphenol a'. ENDS Report 314, March 2001.

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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust