Dr. Sarah Janssen, a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco, said that "in animal studies, exposure to BPA is associated with reproductive harm, alterations in behavior and brain development, increased risk of prostate and breast cancer, and an earlier onset of puberty."
And, she added, "The fact that BPA causes such a wide range of effects at low doses is really very concerning."
Laura N. Vandenberg, a postdoctoral fellow at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, said BPA is an estrogen-like hormone that can cause reproductive problems.
"BPA has been linked to so many different disease and dysfunctions that it's not safe," she said. "It's not safe in any aspect of that word."
While exposure to BPA from canned food is relatively low, "the problem is we don't know all sources of BPA," Vandenberg said. "So canned food is probably a major source, but it's now been found in air, dust, water and medical equipment. So we are being exposed from sources we don't even realize and things we can't control."
The FDA has decided to take another look at BPA, which it has continually maintained is safe for human consumption.
In January, the FDA and other U.S. health agencies pledged $30 million toward short- and long-term research aimed at clarifying the health effects of the chemical.
Report co-author Bobbi Chase Wilding, organizing director of Clean New York, said consumers can switch from canned foods to fresh and frozen foods.
"But consumers should also be reaching out to the manufacturers of the products they like and tell them that they want their cans to be free of BPA," she said.
For more information on BPA, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration .
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