What should be done

Last reviewed: December 2009

Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, believes manufacturers and government agencies should act to eliminate the use of BPA in all materials that come into contact with food.

In Japan, most major manufacturers voluntarily changed their can linings in 1997 to cut or eliminate the use of BPA because of concerns about health effects. A 2003 Japanese study found that the levels of the chemical in subjects' urine dropped by 50 percent after the change in cans was made.

Pete Myers, chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit group based in Charlottesville, Va., says that while can linings aren't the only source of BPA exposure, the experiences in Japan can be instructive.

In the meantime, experts say that consumers who are concerned might be able to reduce, though not necessarily eliminate, their dietary exposure to BPA by taking the following steps:

  • Choose fresh food whenever possible.
  • Consider alternatives to canned food, beverages, juices, and infant formula.
  • Use glass containers when heating food in microwave ovens.