Bisphenol Pale Ale: Should You Be Worried About the BPA in Your Beer Can?

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Jun 9, 2017.

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  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Admin (0) Aug 23, 1996 California

    2beerdogs, 73brewer and chrismattlin like this.
  2. Chris912

    Chris912 Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2014 Illinois

    I love cans.

    On the contrary to popular belief, Bisphenol A is not harmful to humans at the concentrations humans are exposed to in everyday life. This ‘claim’ is backed up by numerous studies conducted by the most venerable of outfits:

    US FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) ( &,

    the European Food Safety Authority EFSA (

    and also Oxford Academic Toxicological Sciences Journal 2009 – yes *that* Oxford (

    A little history - The reason this BPA craze started was way back when baby bottles were ubiquitously molded using Polycarbonate. BPA is a precursor in the condensation polymerization reaction that makes polycarbonate, and the monomer (BPA) can still exist after polymerization. This is normal, to a degree, in polymer science.

    The problem back then was that baby bottles were heated up, with repeated use (HEAT and REPEATE being the key words here), and that process caused some of the BPA to leach out OVER TIME. Also, resin manufacures differ, some are better in controlling their polymerization, while others arent. Which do you think had more unreacted BPA monomer in their end product?

    Since babies are an order of magnitude smaller than a fully grown, physically developed adult, well, you get the idea. Not to mention, this was a polymerized plastic in Polycarbonate we're talking about here, not the meticulously process that is the lining of BPA cans, with MUCH less actual amount of the 'questionable' material.

    So questionable resin manufacture + heat + repeated use + small babies = the current absurdity we hear about this subject every day, which has now 'leached (excuse the pun) into the beer world..

    Look at it from a different perspective, food-borne fatalities traced to cans rusting, Botulism, etc using BPA lining are basically non-existent,.all thanks to.... BPA lining! So that's some positive news you never read about BPA.

    Some have concerns on 10% beers in cans…. As the article mentions, it’s the acidity, like that tomato sauce or coca cola, will drive out any bpa before alcohol will. As it's always been, it’s the contents of said packaging that will get you - NOT the lining.

    The real problem are these BS food/awareness sites which are based on exactly zero science of any merit. I dont even want to do them any justice by listing any of them.

    Go to your doctor and have your blood checked for BPA. Even if you avoided it like the plague, you will have trace amounts in you. Get over it.

    Please - research it yourself. Look at the data. Read the journles. Challenge my claims. If you're able to be completely persuaded by little ol me on a beer blog....well, I'll leave it at that.

    This overzealous obsession on BPA and it's (non-existent) affect on humanity needs to /end.
    tzieser, russpowell, Lucular and 28 others like this.
  3. DrMindbender

    DrMindbender Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2014 South Carolina

    Drink draft...problems solved. That's why I've got 6 homebrews on tap right now :wink:
  4. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts

    so... one should still worry about a berlinerweisse in a can...? i'm confused...
  5. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Pooh-Bah (2,549) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The dose makes the Poison. @Chris912 sums it up well.

    People have died from drinking too much water in a short time.

    One can get alcohol poisoning from too much in a short time. Alcohol is toxic you know, and we all foolishly drink it!

    Edit pH of beer is usually 4-4.6, sours are less. Tomatos are close to beer in pH or less in some cases. Coke has a pH of 2.5 from phosphoric acid, and that is why you can shine a penny with it.
    #5 hopfenunmaltz, Jun 10, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  6. Chris912

    Chris912 Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2014 Illinois

    I never said to "worry". To quote somebody unimportant, "those are your words, not mine".

    All I meant was a comparison between the two.

    It's analogous to saying driving is incredibly more dangerous than flying. I hope this factoid doesn't dissuade you from driving anymore....
  7. threeviews

    threeviews Initiate (0) Apr 18, 2011 Florida

    IMO, a very interesting article that I hope gives rise to discussion.

    From my personal observation...this is where I currently stand:
    1 - BPA is only dangerous to young humans
    2 - The higher the temperature, the more BPA leeches into the housed product
    3 - The lower the pH of the housed product, the greater the breakdown of the BPA layer over time.

    That said:
    1 - Beer is consumed by adults
    2 - With few exceptions, beer consumed from a can are varieties that will be consumed rather quickly (30-60-90 days)
    3 - The preferred vessel for the IPA (in all of its iterations) is the can and being that it is a style that is to be consumed immediately

    My conclusion:
    1 - Hoppy beers (to be consumed fresh) pose no threat
    2 - Beers packaged in cans that would age well (Ten FIDY, YETI - and very hoppy) might result in BPA leeching into the product if aged. If so, how much is seeping into the product?
    3 - Does any of this matter (i.e. does any consumer of craft beer even care)?

    Thoughts welcome!
  8. Zorro

    Zorro Grand Pooh-Bah (3,258) Dec 25, 2003 California

    Short answer:

  9. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Grand Pooh-Bah (3,463) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    While in general I agree with what you've provided it's still important to note/consider the health of any individual into the equation. Those with underlying immune system issues may be more sensitive than others regardless of their age. While I agree the risk to the general population is fairly low, there may be a group far more sensitive than their peers. BPA is not unique in that regard to the risks posed to that populous group. My $0.02
  10. Wiffler27

    Wiffler27 Pooh-Bah (1,956) Aug 16, 2009 South Carolina

    yes, plastic is bad for everyone. it leeches BPA into you and contaminates the environment for over a 1,000 years.

    no, the amount in aluminum cans that leech into you is insignificant.

    i agree BPA is terrible for you and plastic is awful for the environment. there are way more commonly used things in the world that can more severely impact your health than minute amounts of BPA in cans.

    i LOVE people that smoke a pack a day, eat McDonald's for lunch everyday and drink Coke at every meal then badmouth people who drink alcohol.

    (i know a guy at work who drinks over 100 cans of soda a week, he openly admits it, and then explains how my beer drinking is a serious issue.)

    almost everything in our world today can kill us. some faster and some slower.
  11. chrismattlin

    chrismattlin Pooh-Bah (1,591) May 10, 2014 Ohio

    Who do you work for? Jeez.
    That sounded like the guy who went around and told everyone that Roundup was completely safe to drink. (and then famously refused to do so on tv)

    Make up your owns minds when it comes to BPA people!
    tolar111, 73brewer and Number1Framer like this.
  12. woodychandler

    woodychandler Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,936) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania

    I am NOT worried, but I went all-in on CANs long ago before it was hip and/or trendy. Proceed at your own risk.
  13. Malt_Man

    Malt_Man Initiate (0) Jul 4, 2014 England

    The most harmful substance in a can of beer by a wide margin is the alcohol.
  14. Brolo75

    Brolo75 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2013 California

    Not worried about cans and BPA but I still prefer bottles as my container of choice. I'll only buy canned beer if it's not available in bottles.

    THANAT0PSIS Pooh-Bah (2,189) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    The current trends in my area shows more an more people moving away from bottles and into cans. There is a chance that soon you may not have a choice since all things will be canned (besides stuff like lambic, imperial stouts, etc.)
    2beerdogs and Brolo75 like this.
  16. Brolo75

    Brolo75 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2013 California

    I believe there will always be a choice between bottles and cans as a majority of craft breweries still bottle their beers. I know that canned beers are growing but to believe and think that bottles are going to entirely disappear is unbelievable. Even BMC still offers many of their beers in bottles and cans. Don't get me wrong, I am not against cans but for some unknown reason I still prefer to purchase bottled beers over canned beers but I will purchase canned beers. I'm all for consumer options, cheers!
  17. Savan

    Savan Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2014 Minnesota

    Alls I got to say is .... shouldn't they test products more before they use them. Or maybe its not a problem at all. Kinda catch 22 it would seem?
  18. Jugs_McGhee

    Jugs_McGhee Grand Pooh-Bah (5,894) Aug 15, 2010 Colorado
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Yet again, Betteridge's law of headlines is upheld.

    Thanks for the alarmism, though...
    Chris912 likes this.
  19. bmrattay

    bmrattay Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2014 New Jersey

    I agree completely. The title of the article poses a question for which the body has no substantial answer. I am confused as to the intention of the article itself. Is it meant only to spur on research on an individual basis? Or does the writer have an agenda which the writing itself is obscuring?

    Call me old-fashioned, but I'm not much for journalism for journalism's sake. I think this is an important discussion to be had (BPA's affects on the human body and its ubiquitousness), but I think the title and the article itself are misaligned.

    It's well written, but it does not give me enough information to feel one way or another about the topic.

    Am I just completely wrong here?

  20. digboy

    digboy Maven (1,352) Dec 4, 2016 New Hampshire

    Estrogen spoofing, eh? So that's maybe why I am growing these man-boobs - it was all that beer! And it all started around the time the can renaissance began! It's so clear now in retrospect.

    (Still worth it IMO)
  21. SoilLady

    SoilLady Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2016 Oregon

  22. erway

    erway Crusader (442) Jul 28, 2006 New Mexico

    I package beer in cans. I drink beer from cans. My man boob's have continually gotten larger every year since I started canning beer= My wife should drink more beer from cans!
  23. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Grand Pooh-Bah (4,626) Jan 31, 2005 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I'm with you. "Mipples" (man nipples) are becoming, shall we say a bit more pronounced. But I wonder how much of that is my beer drinking vs. my sporadic (putting it nicely) exercise routine. :confused:
    But, having said that, I would like to see an alternative. We have really plasticized our world in the last half century or so, and as much as @Chris912 is spot on about the oft-forgotten benefits, we should always be willing to use that good old scientific method for not just researching what IS there, but put more energy into the what COULD BE there instead.
    chrismattlin and jakecattleco like this.
  24. Giantspace

    Giantspace Pooh-Bah (2,757) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Kegs are stainless I think and not lined with BPA. If I am wrong then let's stop here.

    If I am right then why are cans not made of unlined stainless steel? Is it cost? Manufacture? Some other reason?

    I still prefer a bottle but 99% of the time cans cost less. Cans are easy to transport and take up less room in my fridge. Over 90% of my purchases are now cans and I don't think about the possible Ill effect cans might have.

    Aging can beers will be an issue down the road. I collect soda and some energy drink cans and many have leaked overtime, some from the top seal and some from tiny pin holes that somehow get in the bottom of the can. I have a 10 fidy ageing and it's about 4 years old , so far no leak.

    Is it the contents eating the can away or inferior cans?

    vabeerguy likes this.
  25. WBY

    WBY Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2017

    When I see that people have chosen a can over a bottle so we must go with the can, I wonder what people are they talking about? I walked into the local "Specs" store, and went to get a couple six-packs of my favorite home town beer, only to find it in cans.

    No one asked me what I prefer, and in some cases, the taste from a bottle to can caused me to drop that particular beer. The only people I can see making these decisions are the beer mfgr's. themselves.
    Brolo75 likes this.
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    I have nothing to quote to back me up but I am pretty sure it is a cost aspect.

    Some other tid-bits:

    Beer became available in cans in 1935. “These original beer cans were heavy; they first were tin, later steel, then eventually incorporated aluminum sides.”

    The first aluminum can of beer was in 1958.

    russpowell likes this.
  27. redgorillabreath

    redgorillabreath Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2015 Pennsylvania

    For the record, I don't work for a can company. I'm just a lowly homebrewer.

    This whole issue reminds me of a thing I saw on TV about getting kids vaccinated (measles, small pox, etc.). The comment from a mom (kid not vaccinated) was "I don't see why I should inject my baby with unknown toxins". Just because the specifics of the vaccine are unknown to the parent doesn't mean its composition isn't well defined, understood, and controlled.

    And then there was the guy I ran into in the brew shop, just getting started, and was worried about fermenting in the plastic pail that came with the kit because of what might leach into his brew. It's pretty close to a big milk jug. ???

    I can get behind wanting to know and control what's in your brew. I do. But I'm going to wait to get worked up when there's a reason to.
    vabeerguy and russpowell like this.
  28. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Pooh-Bah (2,549) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The original cans may have been tin lined, not all tin, as tin is expensive.
    jesskidden likes this.
  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    As well as the inside of the can lined with the patented "Keglined" lining developed by the American Can Co. specifically for beer cans. (Other can companies of the era developed their own linings).
    No idea if ACC's "Keglined" lining contained BPA but I will note that many of the first consumers of those early canned beers of the 1930s are now dead ! :grimacing:
  30. bbtkd

    bbtkd Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,104) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    BPAs are yet another chemical exposure that potentially impacts health, though probably not as much as prescription medicines, deodorant, perfumes/colognes, food additives, etc. Eventually research might tie some specific exposure to specific health issues such as increases in cancer, and increases in the spectrum of neurological disorders such as ADHD, autism, etc. Some of the increases in these disorders can be tied to improved detection though (when I was a hyper kid we were just little asshats, now they have a diagnostic name and treatments for it). I guess at my age I won't worry about BPAs unless research points to it as a real danger - I don't drink a lot of canned beer anyway. There is far more proven research on the dangers of the planned contents of beer and pop cans - alcohol and sugar.
    FatBoyGotSwagger and russpowell like this.
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    JK, according to the below linked article the liner of the first beer can was a plastic called Vinylite.

    “By the early 1930's, American Can had developed a can strong enough to withstand the pressures of packaged beer. They had also finally solved the problem of lining the can by using a moldable plastic called Vinylite.”

    russpowell likes this.
  32. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Pooh-Bah (2,557) May 3, 2016 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I hate cans. Especially for the BPA reasons.
    -We know BPA isn't good for you.
    -Advent of the 16oz can- more surface area=more leaching
    -Higher acidity beers= more leaching
    -Anyone taste BPA? Wonder what the effects on beer flavor are...
    -How much BPA winds up in our oceans, landfills and water tables as a result of "recycling" of cans...

    Props to brewers who continue to care enough about their product and consumer to use bottles.
    tolar111 likes this.
  33. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    I thought his post was pretty straightforward and objective, including actual citations of studies.

    In fact, it filled in what I thought was a fairly critical gap in the article to which he was responding. The article covered the "are we exposed to it?" question but essentially ignored the "is that level of exposure harmful?" side of things.

    Without answers to both questions, we don't have really any way of answering the question posed by the headline.

    Exactly this. I'm not really sure what the takeaway is supposed to be. I feel like this article could have been written three years ago in its current form and substance

    But do we know that?
    russpowell and meefmoff like this.
  34. tolar111

    tolar111 Pooh-Bah (2,938) Aug 17, 2008 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Debate BPA all you want, cans are foul. Anything that touches the top of the
    can ends up in your glass. How many people handled that can before you
    bought it? Drink from the can, contact a filthy surface directly, pour into a glass
    and the beer runs over the top of the can through whatever has collected there.
    The only thing cans are good for is taking them to places where glass isn't
    allowed. And yes I do occasionally drink canned beer.
    VABA and chrismattlin like this.
  35. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Grand Pooh-Bah (3,139) Nov 4, 2015 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society

    It's an open question, with no certain answers, which is a major point of the article. Ignoring topics until there are certainties (claimed) would seem (to me) to be an odd way to operate, for anyone, let alone a media/news/etc site, such as BA.
    VABA likes this.
  36. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Yeah, as I recall "Vinylite" was a Union Carbide product, and they and American Can developed a way to apply it to beer cans on top of an enamel base which resulted in the trademarked "Keglined" process. Some of the other can companies also used UC's Vinylite in their process.
  37. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Total toxic load is important in these scenarios. The liver can only detoxify so much. One toxin, by itself and in small amounts, is usually no big issue. Add that toxin to the array of toxins already in our environment and in our food and water and you might have yourself an issue. Sensitivities also differ quite vastly in humans, so there's that to take into consideration. It is really no insignificant issue.
    russpowell, chrismattlin and bbtkd like this.
  38. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Grand Pooh-Bah (4,748) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    No. We should be worried about people not vaccinating their children, misuse of antibiotics, over population, but BPA is toward the very bottom of the list of things that will kill us prematurely. Well below the alcohol itself for many of us.
    Pantalones and russpowell like this.
  39. bmrattay

    bmrattay Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2014 New Jersey

    I'm not asking for certainties. I'm just wondering what the point is of an article basically rehashing everything we already don't know about BPA. No new information, no opinion, no story to tell. Sure, journalism should force us to ask questions, but not by simply asking it for us.

    Agree to disagree, maybe?

  40. Optifron

    Optifron Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 Minnesota

    16 oz beer, very likely (I do not have one to measure) = less surface area/volume, not more, compared to 12 oz. surface area/volume will scale roughly as 1/sqrt(volume), depending on specifics of can design. That claim of yours is bogus rubbish.

    Anyone taste glass? Wonder what the effects on beer flavor are... (this is equivalent to your opining on cans).

    Finally, there are plenty of props to be given to brewers who care enough about the world to reduce the energy cost of transport and storage, and increase the stability of the beer thanks to using cans, all without negative effect.
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