Although food manufacturers have pledged to voluntarily eliminate bisphenol A (BPA)—an endocrine disruptor linked to developmental problems in fetuses, infants and children—in their packaging materials, it’s still found in the lining of many canned goods. Recent testing by an advocacy group found BPA in 70 percent of nearly 200 samples, including products from Campbell and Kroger, which have joined the pledge.
“It’s in beer, coffee, tea, energy drinks and aerosol cans for whipped cream… it’s everywhere,” says Samara Geller, a database and research analyst with the Environmental Working Group (EWG). According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, BPA is safe at the levels people are exposed to via canned foods, but many consumers would rather not take the risk.
Consequently, EWG created a new tool to help consumers avoid the 16,000 products that may have BPA in their packaging. The numbers listed on package UPC codes can be compared against the database at Tinyurl.com/EWG-BPA-Lookup. “Our main goal was to get this out quickly to as many people as possible,” says Geller. “The UPC code is really your best defense to finding out what they’re talking about,” because product names can change.