I have a new pet peeve that’s been driving my husband crazy: Over the last six months I have been trying to eliminate all cans from our pantry and kitchen shelves. Why? Well, I suppose it all started with my blog post about sunscreens this summer. Maybe I had been living under a rock or something but I was not aware of the presence of BPA in everyday products such as CANNED food.
Somewhere along the line of my sunscreen research I stumbled across a list of the 12 worst chemicals that pollute our household. Another really awful one was fire retardents. I don’t recall the name of this particular chemical, but they spray it on everything from kids clothing to sofas and sofa cushions. And people, it’s bad for you! I’d rather take my chances with a fire than expose my family to this stuff every single day.
So then there was this article on cans and what they put in the liner:
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that has been used in the production of plastic bottles and metal food and beverage containers for more than 40 years. The FDA has stated that exposure to small amounts of BPA is safe, however studies have shown that exposure to BPA may be unsafe for children. It seems like there are a dozens of new studies warning of new potential sources of BPA exposure: baby bottles, metal cans, reusable water bottles, dental fillings and sealants, cash register receipts and so on. And with those sources are all sorts of potential health implications: low sperm count, heart problems, diabetes, cancer and so on. In children, BPA may pose a threat to the brain, prostate and behavioral functions of children and fetuses.
What the heck? I had read about the plastic containers, and I remember my frantic search for glass bottles when my kids were infants, but did you know that it was in all cans? So I declared war on cans this summer. I have to tell you, it’s been quite tough and there are some products I very much struggle to find replacement for. The beans were easy. I can buy them dried and cook them myself. In fact I have found they taste so much better that way. Plus, I can control how much salt and other spices go in…The product I have the most trouble with is tomatoes. In the summer we were fine. Shucks, the summer has come to an end. Two weeks ago we cut into our last global warming sponsored tomato. What now?
I talked to the manager at one of the grocery stores I shop at. They recently started ordering the product Pomi. It comes in a package known as “Tetrapack” in Europe. No cans needed! In Europe lots of products are packaged that way. Here it’s rather rare. I suppose it’s a all a supply and demand question. The high price tag is a problem for families on a tight food budget these days. It’s not cheap to eat healthy! But I’d rather make tomato sauce less often than give chemicals to my kids. It makes me sad though to think that so many poor people in the US mostly eat canned foods because that’s what food banks and local charities collect for the poor.
Links for further study:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services BPA Information for Parents
EWG’s Consumer Tips to Avoid BPA Exposure
U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Update on BPA (Jan 2010)
Ulla Seckler is a dollmaker who was born and raised in Germany. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two kids. You can find her Notes by a German Dollmaker on her blog where she shares some great German recipes, pictures of her sweet dolls, and life lessons learned. Don’t forget to stop by her Etsyshop and take a peek at her wonderful doll creations.