Raising Healthy Children

The Newsletter of the Children's Environmental Health Center              November 2011

Our Mission: Protecting Children Against Environmental Threats to Health

Dr. Landrigan

Dr. Philip J. Landrigan

Director, CEHC

In This Issue
BPA in Canned Thanksgiving Foods?
A BPA-Free Recipe
Fracking and Children's Health
About the CEHC

Dear Friends of the Children's Environmental Health Center:

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at CEHC!


With the holiday quickly approaching, our November newsletter highlights a recent report that tested canned foods commonly used at Thanksgiving dinner for bisphenol-A (BPA).  Don't be alarmed by the results!  To prevent your children from any risk of BPA exposure, we share a homemade recipe for cranberry sauce -- completely free of BPA!


Want to learn more about the effects of BPA and other toxic chemicals?  If you live in the New York City area, please register for our free educational symposium on Monday, December 5.  Click here or see our article in this issue. 


I wish you a healthy November and a wonderful Thanksgiving.




Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc

Director, Children's Environmental Health Center

Mount Sinai School of Medicine


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  BPA in Canned Thanksgiving Foods?   


Found in the metal lining of cans, this endocrine disrupting chemical
may be in some of our favorite Thanksgiving foods.


Photo from www.breastcancerfund.org

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, there has been concern about bisphenol-A (BPA) in some canned foods. 

What is BPA?

Bisphenol-A, more commonly known as BPA
, is a man-made chemical that is found in plastic bottles, hard-plastic baby bottles, sippy cups, and the metal linings of canned foods.

Why is BPA used in canned foods?
BPA is used to create a seal that prevents bacteria from growing in food.  However, this seal often contains BPA, which can leach into food, especially if the food is fatty or salty.

Why are we concerned about BPA? 

BPA acts as an endocrine disruptor, meaning it imitates our body's natural hormones and affects our body's normal processes.  BPA, for example, 
 imitates estrogen, and its presence has been linked to an increase in the risk of breast cancer, effects on reproductive development, obesity, early puberty, and type-2 diabetes.

Do Thanksgiving foods contain BPA?

A recent report tested several canned foods, commonly used on Thanksgiving.  What did they find?  Almost half of the products tested were found to have high levels of BPA - enough to cause adverse health effects.

Chemicals like BPA are measured in parts-per-billion (ppb) - a unit used to measure incredibly small quantities.  When exposed in the womb, an exposure of 11 ppb in 4 ounces of food is large enough to cause harmful health effects, including fetal brain disruption.  When this report tested Thanksgiving foods, it found BPA levels that ranged from 2 ppb up to 221 ppb.

How can we avoid BPA in canned foods?

Fortunately, there are alternatives to canned foods. The Breast Cancer Fund, who conducted this report, recommends:

  • Use frozen foods instead of canned foods.
  • If possible, buy foods that come in Tetra Pak, a safer alternative.
  • Prepare foods from scratch instead of buying canned products.
  • Remember: Just because a canned food is labeled organic, this does not mean that it is BPA-free!


Source: Breast Cancer Fund (2011): BPA in Canned Thanksgiving Food

A BPA-Free Recipe 

This Thanksgiving, try homemade cranberry sauce!  This recipe has the taste and texture of canned cranberry sauce, without the funny can ridges and, most importantly, BPA. 


BPA-Free Cranberry Sauce  

Provided by Rhonda Sherwood

Vice Chair of the Executive Board of the Children's Environmental Health Center (CEHC) and mother of three




1 cup white sugar

1 cup organic orange juice

1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries



  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and orange juice to a boil.
  2. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the cranberries and cook until they start to pop, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and cool cranberry mixture for at least 15 minutes or until mixture is warm to the touch.
  5. Blend mixture in a blender or food processor to a smooth consistency.
  6. Pour blended sauce into a 2 cup (16 oz) glass container or mold.
  7. Refrigerate until firm, preferably overnight.
  8. Remove cranberry sauce from container, serve, and enjoy!


Click here to print this recipe.


For more BPA-free recipes, check out the Breast Cancer Fund's

"No Can" Thanksgiving Recipes.  


Register Now!
How do exposures in the womb and during early childhood put our children at risk for disease later in life?

Join our team for a FREE half-day symposium that examines the environmental causes of some of the most common conditions. Click here to register. 

Monday, December 5

New York Academy of Medicine

1216 Fifth Avenue, New York City

9:30am - 12:00pm




An Introduction to Children's Environmental Health 

Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc  


Endocrine Disruption 101:  Alteration to the Male Reproductive System by Prenatal Phthalate Exposure

Shanna H. Swan, PhD 


Endocrine Disruptors and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Amir Miodovnik, MD, MPH 


Endocrine Disruptors and Breast Cancer

Maida P. Galvez, MD, MPH 

Endocrine Disruptors and Childhood Obesity

Michele La Merrill, PhD, MPH

Where Do We Go From Here?
Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc

Click here to print our event flier.
Save the Date!

The next Greening Our Children Meeting

is Tuesday, January 24, 2012.


Featuring a presentation by Kevin Chatham-Stephens, MD, who will discuss how fracking affects children's health.


10:00am - 12:00pm.  Location TBD. 

About the Children's Environmental Health Center 



Formally established in 2007, the Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Center (CEHC) builds on Dr. Philip J. Landrigan's three decades of work in children's environmental health and fifteen years of research in environmental pediatrics at Mount Sinai. CEHC has established itself as a leading source of scientifically credible information on issues related to children's health and the environment. Our mission is to protect children against environmental threats to health. We do this by guiding, supporting, and building the programs of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. 




In 2010, the Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Center was designated a Collaborating Centre in Children's Environmental Health by the World Health Organization.