Feb 14, 2013

Do You Want Some Estrogen On Soft Drink?

It turns out a cold drink isn’t the only thing in your pop can. A Health Canada study of canned pop has found the vast majority of the drinks contain the chemical bisphenol A, a substance that imitates the female hormone estrogen and is now banned in baby bottles.

The highest levels of the chemical, known as BPA, were found in caffeine-loaded energy drinks, but the residue was also detected in ginger ale, diet cola, root beer and citrus-flavoured soda. Pop cans are lined on the inside with BPA in order to prevent the drink from coming into contact with the metal in the can.

“The emphasis has always been on canned foods, and the results are especially startling, given that the average person, worldwide, consumes more than 22 gallons of soft drinks every year. Yikes!” (thedailygreen.com)

Out of 72 drinks tested, 69 were found to contain BPA at levels below what Health Canada says is the safe upper limit. However, studies in peer-reviewed science journals have indicated that even at very low doses, BPA can increase breast and ovarian cancer cell growth and the growth of some prostate cancer cells in animals. Health Canada spokesman Stéphane Shank said there is no risk to Canadians. “The average adult weighing approximately 60 kilograms would have to consume over 900 cans per day” to reach the department’s safety threshold, he said. (www.cbc.ca)

The drinks tested came from a variety of sources, representing at least 84 per cent of the market share of soft drinks sold in the country. Despite this, the federal department did not reveal why this study was only published January in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and on Health Canada’s website. The reasoning? It wasn’t their intent to hide it. However, had they wanted to get this report out, which would certainly have been the case if it was more positive, more sources would have been included.

Like estrogen — BPA is active in very small amounts. The average soft drink contains levels of around half a part per billion, resulting in 500 times more estrogen in people than normal. Some experiments have found harmful effects in animals at BPA concentrations as low as 1,000 times below Health Canada’s marker. Given this information, we need to consider the cumulative effect of hormone-disrupting chemicals.


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