A new study released today in the peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, found that eliminating canned foods and foods wrapped in plastic from your diet can dramatically reduce levels of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates.

The study, entitled Food Packaging and Bisphenol A and Bis(2-Ethyhexyl) Phthalate Exposure: Findings from a Dietary Intervention, was conducted by scientists at the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute.  

Researchers tested the levels of BPA in the urine of five San Francisco Bay area families of four who had a high likelihood of regular exposure to food packaging containing BPA. After their initial examination, the families then ate a low-BPA diet for three days, and were reevaluated. Another sample was taken after the family returned to their normal eating habits.

The results? Researchers noted significant drops in levels of BPA when study participants ate a diet that avoided contact with BPA-containing food packaging, such as canned food and polycarbonate plastic.

Wow! This really surprised me. I mean, I knew that the BPA found in the linings of canned foods and the plastic on packaged foods was likely leaching into food, but I did not realize the extent. Nor did I realize the difference that only a few days and a slight dietary modification could make on one's BPA levels. Oh, and in addition to BPA, participants were tested for several phthalates. Researchers found that levels of the phthalate DEHP, found in some plastic food packaging, also dropped significantly when packaged food was removed from the diet.

So what does this mean for you? It's as good of an incentive as any to get packaged foods — canned foods and food wrapped in plastic — out of your diet. 

Personally, although I don't use a lot of canned foods, I do keep them around for quick meals (soups) and easy ingredients (beans), but this study has changed how I feel.  I won't give them all away, but I won't be replacing the canned goods in the cupboard, either.

Does this change how you feel about canned and plastic-wrapped foods? 

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