Almost all cans that preserve food and many plastic food containers are lined with BPA, a chemical used to keep the metal or plastic intact to protect the food inside. "BPA leeches into foods over time, and even faster when the food is heated up," says Renée Sharp, director of research at EWG.
That's a big problem, Sharp says. "BPA has been linked to so many different potential health effects – cancer, reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty, heart disease," she explains. "New studies come out every week that either underscore these concerns or implicate BPA in new health effects." And even though our systems flush out BPA fairly quickly (whereas many other hormone disruptors build up in the body), we're constantly being exposed because it's found in so many items we use every day.
To avoid BPA, Sharp suggests avoiding canned food whenever possible and doing your homework to find the few companies, like Eden Foods, that now offer BPA-free cans. Also steer clear of food packaged in plastic with a recycling code 7, which usually means it contains BPA. And although reusable plastic bottles used to be big sources of BPA, more and more brands are ousting the chemical, so it's become easy to find a bottle without it.