Pregnant Women Should Avoid Canned Foods, Study Says

Filed under: In The News, Alerts & Recalls, Nutrition, Pregnancy Health, Expert Advice: Pregnancy

If you're pregnant, kick the cans. Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Pregnant women should avoid or limit their intake of canned foods, which can expose them to a potentially dangerous chemical, a new report says.

More than 90 percent of cans tested in the study titled "No Silver Lining" contained detectable levels of bisphenol A (BPA), which public health experts say has been linked to abnormal behavior, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, developmental and reproductive harm and obesity.

The study tested an array of brand-name foods from 50 cans in 19 states and one Canadian province. The report was released by the National Work Group for Safe Markets, a coalition of public and environmental health groups.

The safety of BPA is at the center of a raging public health debate. Manufacturing and packaging companies and trade associations say it is a safe chemical that protects food from metal can corrosion and bacteria. On the other hand, health professionals and public health advocates say studies show harmful effects from even low doses of BPA.

The National Toxicology Program says there is "some concern" that BPA can affect neural development in fetuses, infants and children, according to a press release issued by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has introduced legislation to ban BPA in food and beverage containers.

Canada, Denmark and five U.S. states have restricted the use of BPA in children's products such as baby bottles and infant formula cans. Other countries and states are considering similar restrictions.

The report calls on Congress to ban BPA in food and drink packaging, and notes that some companies, such as Eden Foods, already use BPA-free cans.

Related: FDA Cautions Use of Children's Products Containing BPA

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.