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It’s clear that canned food has largely moved away from BPA, but what are they using in new can linings? That part is less clear. The new linings are made from either acrylic, polyester, non-BPA epoxies, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) copolymers, or olefin polymers. Which one depends on the manufacturer. A 2016 report by several nonprofit groups Buyer Beware: Toxic BPA and regrettable substitutes in the linings of canned food notes that many of these new linings are not great alternatives. PVC is not a great substitute because it’s made from vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen. And many of the acrylic linings include polystyrene (hello styrofoam!), which is also a possible human carcinogen. Adequate testing to ensure that these new linings are safe for food have not been done. And it’s probably no surprise that neither PVC or polystyrene are great for the environment!
Even some of the newest liners, like olefin polymers, which are partially derived from plants, have not been completely studied for safety, many times because their formulation is not publicly available.
Moreover, there are only a couple of companies that specify exactly which BPA free liner they have moved to. So, if you see a can with a BPA free symbol on it, you won’t know what they are using instead. Read more here.