Are BPA Free Dog Foods Safe or Even BPA Free?
If you feed canned dog food, both regular and those advertised as BPA free, you should read the results of this new study from the University of Missouri (Koestel, Z.L., et al, 2016). Dogs come in contact with bisphenol A or BPA through their food, skin and possibly by inhaling it. This study focused on the BPA used to line dog food cans.
Why do you care about BPA? Well, BPA is an endocrine disrupter chemical (EDC), which means it can replace the normal hormones in a dog’s body. Unlike natural hormones, EDCs act indiscriminately and erratically, disrupting critical functions and organs.
University of Missouri researchers found that even short-term feeding of canned food, even BPA free dog foods, increased BPA concentrations in dogs!
These BPA concentrations affected the dogs’ intestinal microflora and metabolisms in as little as two weeks on canned food.
Although we still have a lot to learn about the effects of BPA on people and dogs, researchers are confident that exposure to BPA either in utero or soon after birth alters epigenetic programming, resulting in longterm effects that are often expressed later in life (vom Saal FS et al., 2007). Even low doses of BPA early in life cause effects that persist into adulthood, long after the puppy’s exposure has ended. This prenatal and neonatal exposure to BPA results in changes in many organs, such as the prostate, breast, testes, mammary glands, body size, brain structure and chemistry, and behavior. In addition, exposure to even low doses of BPA in adulthood can cause substantial behavioral and reproductive problems in both males and females.
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In this most recent study, University of Missouri researchers checked dogs’ blood and gut bacteria at the start of the study, when the dogs were eating their normal diet of bagged kibble. The dogs were split into two groups, each fed a canned diet for two weeks, one of which was supposedly a BPA free dog food. Researchers expected to see differing levels of BPA and its effects between the two groups. Both foods had similar amounts of BPA in the cans, so the BPA free dog food was not BPA free. As a result, levels of BPA in both groups of dogs’ blood serum increased threefold over the two weeks. These increased levels of BPA in the dogs’ blood correlated with changes in the levels of other metabolic measures and at least 8 bacteria in their gut.
What does this mean for dog owners and dogs?
BPA is an avoidable toxin that we do not need to feed our dogs. We must press dog food companies to make truly BPA free dog foods, confirmed by independent labs. Second, we have to realize that even short-term use of canned foods can result in longterm effects on our dogs. Finally, canned foods simply may not be safe for breeding animals, especially dams, since the effects of BPA exposure early in life remain with animals for years.
Koestel, Z.L., et al., 2016. Bisphenol A (BPA) in the serum of pet dogs following short-term consumption of canned dog food and potential health consequences of exposure to BPA, Science of the Total Environment. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.162
vom Saal FS, B T Akingbemi, et al. 2007. Chapel Hill bisphenol A expert panel consensus statement: Integration of mechanisms, effects in animals and potential to impact human health at current levels of exposure. Reproductive Toxicology, 2007 Aug–Sep; 24(2): 131–138. doi: dx.doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.reprotox.2007.07.005
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