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This Dangerous Substance in Canned Food Could Be Shortening Your Life, Study Finds

We know BPA can cause adverse health effects in humans, but a new study links it to a higher mortality rate.
defective can

This year has seen a surge in canned food consumption—after all, cans are one of the most convenient ways to stock a pantry with cooking shortcuts to a quick dinner. Not to mention, there's a current shortage of aluminum cans because we've been buying much more soda and beer at grocery stores. But if you're worried about whether eating all this canned food and drinking canned beverages is adversely affecting your health, you're definitely onto something.

Food and drinks packaged in metal cans are known to contain traces of the dreaded bisphenol A, better known as BPA. This chemical compound is a known endocrine disruptor which has been linked to fetal abnormalities, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer in humans.

The official stance of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) puts BPA in the category of generally safe chemical compounds, which is why canned products for human consumption are still allowed to be sold in grocery stores. The consensus shared among food safety experts is that the total human exposure to BPA from all sources is very low. However, the results of a recent study may sound some new alarms on the negative long-term health outcomes of exposure to BPA.

The study, published in the Journal of JAMA Network Open, found a correlation between increased levels of BPA in the body and an increased likelihood of dying within a 10-year period. In fact, people who had highest levels of BPA in their system were 49% more likely do die within 10 years. "This is another puzzle piece that compellingly speaks to the seriousness of the threat posed by these chemicals used in can linings and thermal papers," Dr. Leonardo Trasande, study author and director of environmental pediatrics at NYU Langone Health, told CNN.

While this is the first study to find such a result, Dr. Trasande explained it may not be a stretch to think of BPA levels as a mortality factor since they increase the risk of other deadly conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

This Source of BPA Is Even More Dangerous During the Pandemic

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BPA can be found in a myriad of common products like plastic bottles, car parts, and toys. But the most common methods of exposure come from food and beverages contaminated by the linings of aluminum cans, as well as from handling thermal paper used to create receipts at nearly every store.

In fact, contamination via thermal receipts is even more dangerous during the pandemic. According to CNN, studies have shown that using hand sanitizer creates a key gateway for the chemicals to be absorbed into the body.

"A study found that if you handle these thermal paper receipts and use hand sanitizer, you absorb almost tenfold more bisphenols into your body," Dr. Trasande was quoted saying.

This puts frontline workers, like cashiers at grocery stores, at an even higher health risk during the pandemic when hand sanitizer is widely used as prevention against contracting coronavirus.

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Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more
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