Disney princesses may be toxic, and not just for sociological reasons. New testing by the Breast Cancer Fund has found BPA (bisphenol-A) in six brands of canned foods marketed to children, with the highest level in Campbell's Disney Princess Cool Shapes shaped pasta with chicken in chicken broth, CBS News reports. The controversial chemical has been linked to breast cancer and other serious ailments.
The Breast Cancer Fund decried the findings of their study and urged food manufacturers to find alternatives to BPA. The substance is used to make a variety of products including baby bottles, water pipes, dental sealants and food containers as well as the epoxy linings of food cans.
"Consider the number of servings of canned foods -- soups, pastas, vegetables, fruits -- that a child eats in a week, in a year, and then throughout her developing years, and you start to see the urgency of getting BPA out of food cans," the Fund's Gretchen Lee Salter said in a written statement.
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, has long warned of the dangers of BPA in food containers, particularly for fetuses, infants and small children. According to a recent Huffington Post article, Consumers Union says, "Our precautionary advice to consumers is based on more than 200 scientific studies that show clear links between tiny amounts of exposure to BPA and subsequent increased risk of cancer, diabetes, reproductive, neurological, and developmental disorders." A 2008 review by the FDA, however, found that the traces of BPA in foods posed no health risks.
In California sampling, the Princess Shapes soup contained 148 parts per billion of BPA. Buzz Lightyear was right behind Cinderella et al: Campbell's Toy Story Fun Shapes chicken soup contained 90 parts per billion. If you thought Elmo was harmlessly annoying, think again: Earth's Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup, USDA Organic, contained 42 or 34 parts per billion (two samples were taken). Next up was Annie's Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli, USDA Organic, with 27 parts per billion; Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta, Mini ABC's & 123's with Meatballs, with 21 parts per billion; and Campbell's Spaghettios With Meatballs, at 16 parts per billion.
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A bill (AB 1319) to prohibit the sale, manufacturing or distribution of infant bottles or cups containing bisphenol-A has already been passed by the California Legislature and is sitting on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. Ten other states, as well as Canada, China, and the European Union, have already banned BPA in baby bottles.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, suggests several precautions for people who are concerned about their BPA exposure. No. 3 on the list: Cut back on canned foods.
Uh oh, Spaghettios.
Follow Samantha Bonar at www.twitter.com/samanthabonar.