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Canned Foods Risky During Pregnancy

Pregnant women should limit their intake of canned foods and drinks, according to a report that finds 92 percent of food from metal cans is contaminated with an estrogen-like chemical called BPA, or bisphenol A.

The chemical is used in countless products, from plastic bottles and paper receipts to the linings of metal cans. The National Toxicology Program has said it has "some concern" that BPA alters development of the brain, behavior and the prostate gland in children, before and after birth.

Researchers found that BPA levels vary dramatically even between cans of the same product, according to the study, released Tuesday by the National Workgroup for Safe Markets, a coalition of 19 environmental groups. For example, one can of Del Monte French Style Green Beans had 36 micrograms of BPA per serving, while another can of the same product had 138 micrograms per serving - a level that has been linked to changes in prostate cells and increased aggression in animals.

The report calls on Congress to ban BPA in food and drink containers, noting that companies such as Eden Foods already sell vegetables in BPA-free cans; Muir Glenn also plans to begin packaging tomatoes in BPA-free cans this year. Canada and Denmark restrict the use of BPA in certain children's products, as do five U.S. states, three counties in New York and the city of Chicago, the report says.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association says the report ignores evidence showing BPA is safe.

And there is "no replacement for BPA that will work across the board for all foods," the association's Robert Brackett said in a statement. "The performance of any technology that could impact the safety of food or beverages must be proven over the entire shelf life of the product before it can be used."

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