Filed Under: Food Scares

Your Stomach Would Explode Before BPA Would Harm You

130402_CCF_HeadlineImage_JudgeGavelForbes highlighted a recent study from Canadian government researchers showing that 100 percent of canned food tested for Bisphenol A (BPA)—a chemical used in the production of food cans—is safe to consume. The author notes that you would die from overeating before being exposed to any potentially dangerous levels of BPA:

The latest study on BPA sampled 403 domestic and imported cans containing fruit, vegetables, juices, other beverages, legumes, pasta, and soups. Only six found levels of BPA in the parts per billion range. And based on the average levels in these six cans – 1.5 percent of the sample – you would, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, have to eat 30.8lbs of canned food (14 kilos, 50 servings) “to reach an exposure to BPA that may pose a safety concern” (emphasis added).

The human stomach can hold up to three liters of fluid, or 6.34 pints, when extended. But the comfortable level can be as low as 1.5 liters or 3.17 pints. Some people, notably competitive eaters, can hold more, through the ability to relax their stomach muscles, overcome their satiety and gag reflexes, and by training their stomachs to hold more and more food. This may not be good for you.

As a pound is a measure of weight and a pint is a measure of volume, and as they are only equal for water, the conversion of solid food to liquid will mean that a pint of food will be heavier than a pound of food; by how much will depend on the density of the food. Using the loose rule that one cup equals one serving of fruit or vegetables and two cups equals a pint, you would have to consume 25 pints of the six examples of canned food in the study—pasta in tomato sauce, whole-style cut carrots, tender peas, cream-style corn—to reach the ‘might be a concern exposure level’ for BPA.

Perhaps there is a superhuman gurgitator who could make their way through 25 pints of food at a speed that would allow BPA to accumulate in their body at this level (remember BPA is constantly and rapidly deactivated in the gut and excreted). But the chances are that you or I would be dead from a perforated stomach.

This study is simply the latest in a string of research backing up BPA’s safety. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration again declared BPA safe in the world’s top toxicology journal, Toxicological Sciences. This is the same conclusion as that reached from UN, European, German, and Canadian health authorities. The bulk of peer reviewed research going back to when the FDA first declared it safe for product use in the 1950s supports the finding that BPA is safe. We must ask: Is it just a matter of time before junk scientist, anti-BPA crusaders blow up a test animal’s stomach trying to prove the opposite?

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