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Warning: Canned Foods May be Linked to BPA Risks

Jun 30, 2016 01:36 AM EDT

Canned foods may expose consumers to BPA, a new study found.

The study, which was published in the journal Environmental Research, found that canned soups and pasta may expose consumers to higher concentrations of the industrial chemical BPA or Bisphenol A.

Canned vegetables and fruits are tied to lower concentrations of BPA, but canned beverages, meat and fish are not.

BPA is a chemical commonly used in plastics and resembles some hormonal molecules in human bodies. Animal studies show that large amounts of BPA exposure can cause serious problems in the reproductive organs, the nervous system and other parts of the body.

Many manufacturers have voluntarily taken BPA out of their products and the U.S. has banned the chemical from infant feeding bottles and cups. According to Forbes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that small amounts of BPA in our diets are not safe.

"The general public still doesn't recognize that [BPA] is in canned food," Jennifer Hartle, postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine and lead author of the study, said in a statement published in Forbes.

Researchers analyzed data on 7,669 people in the U.S. aged 6 and older. The data was taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 to 2008. The data included what each subject had eaten in the past 24 hours and whether BPA concentrations were detected in the urine of each person on that same day.

The results indicated that people who consumed one canned food item in the previous day had 24 percent higher concentrations of BPA in their urine compared with those who had not consumed canned food.

Consumption of two or more canned food resulted in about 54 percent higher BPA concentrations in the urine.

"Urinary BPA concentrations are evidence of BPA exposure," Hartle said.

The researchers also found that eating canned soup indicated 229 percent higher BPA concentration in the urine compared with those who had not consumed canned foods. Canned pasta resulted in 70 percent higher BPA concentrations and canned vegetables or fruit indicated 41 percent higher concentrations.

"This knowledge can help guide consumers when making decisions as to which canned products they choose to buy," Deborah Kurrasch, assistant professor at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine and who was not involved in the study, said in a report by CNN.

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