Dec 8, 2008 at 1:31 pm #1232487
Are DIY beer can pots really safe??????
Here is some information compiled by Dlarson and submitted for your sonsideration.
Re: Plastic Lined Beer Cans as Pots
by dlarson on Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:28 pm
OK, here's what I know.
Pretty much any beer can is going to have an interior coating over the aluminum (pg. 26).
Preliminary Industry Characterization:
Metal Can Manufacturing–Surface Coating wrote:
Waterborne coatings contain a polymer or resin base, water, and organic solvent. The
organic polymers found in water-based coatings include alkyds, polyesters, vinyl acetates,
acrylics, and epoxies, which can be dissolved, dispersed, or emulsified. The water acts as the
main carrier or dispersant, while the organic solvent aids in wetting, viscosity control, and
Beverage can manufacturers use waterborne coatings extensively. Waterborne coatings
are used for 2-piece beverage can base coats, overvarnishes, inside sprays, and rim coats.
The interior coating of a beer can is not developed to withstand boiling water at 212 degrees (pg. 29).
Preliminary Industry Characterization:
Metal Can Manufacturing–Surface Coating wrote:
In general, coatings must exhibit resistance to chemicals, flexibility, and adhesion to
the metal surface. Coatings for beer and certain beverage cans must be able to survive an
aqueous pasteurization cycle of 20-30 minutes at temperatures ranging from 140F to 160F
Heating plastics promotes leaching of toxins into the food.
Studies have shown when cans are heated in the manufacturing process, BPA leaches out of the linings. Foods are first sealed in cans and heated to kill bacteria in the food. Cans are heated to temperatures between 116 C and 121 C, and the length of time varies according to the type of food.
Note: This testing also included two beer cans and found they leached between 8 and 9 parts per billion of BPA. As well, a can of apple juice leached 18 parts per billion.
Ziploc freezer bags do not leach toxins so freezer bag cooking is OK (FAQs Page). And since Ziploc may be biased, here's a second resource stating that Polyethylene bags are safe.
My conclusion is that boiling water in just about any aluminum can is unsafe. If the makeup of the internal coating of Heineken 24oz cans can be determined and the coating is of safe materials that's great. But until then it is logical to assume that there is no difference between the Heineken 24oz cans and most other aluminum cans.
Freezer bag cooking, in contrast, is safe until proven otherwise.Dec 8, 2008 at 2:51 pm #1462997
thanks for that info. as far as im concerned, thats enough evidence to throw that gear possibility out the window. Could you provide a bit more about the source of this information though? ThanksDec 8, 2008 at 2:54 pm #1462999
@tallblokeLocale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
At 0.01 parts per million of BPA I'd be more concerned about what was in the water than the can.Dec 8, 2008 at 3:03 pm #1463003
>At 0.01 parts per million of BPA I'd be more concerned about what was in the water than the can.
Precisely my thoughts. I think my ovaries make about a trillion times more 'estrogenic' compounds than I would ever get from occassionally eating out of a beer can…
From the National Toxicology Program 2008 review:
The NTP reached the following conclusions on the possible effects of current exposures to bisphenol A on human development and reproduction. Note that the possible levels of concern, from lowest to highest, are negligible concern, minimal concern, some concern, concern, and serious concern.
The NTP has SOME concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.
The NTP has MINIMAL concern for effects on the mammary gland and an earlier age for puberty for females in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.
The NTP has NEGLIGIBLE concern that exposure of pregnant women to bisphenol A will result in fetal or neonatal mortality, birth defects, or reduced birth weight and growth in their offspring.
The NTP has NEGLIGIBLE concern that exposure to bisphenol A will cause reproductive effects in non-occupationally exposed adults and minimal concern for workers exposed to higher levels in occupational settings.Dec 8, 2008 at 4:05 pm #1463028
@creachenLocale: East Bay
I use the Heineken Can as a cook pot. For a weekend hike I will boil H2O just twice [dinner & Breakfast] and then recycle the can after use. I have often wondered if there is any affects after just two boils. Should I be worried?
I would be worried using a Heineken Can on a long thru-hike and would then take a Snow Peak 450 instead on any longer treks.Dec 8, 2008 at 9:28 pm #1463100
There is more than enough contradictory information, Dan's post not withstanding, that I would not be overly concerned. Alarmist like to point out that "Heating plastics promotes leaching of toxins into the food." Which is true, but BPA is not very toxic especially in the amounts that might be in the hot water. A study at U of Cincinnati got something like 32 nanograms of BPA released/ hour of boiling in a polycarbonate bottle. It takes well over 3 gm/kg of body wt for a toxic dose which is roughly a trillion (10^9) time more than you get in a hour of boiling.
You do absorb some from the lining. The EPA recommends that you limit intake to less than 50 micrograms/ kg of body wt per day. 50 micrograms is 1500 times the amount of BPA released in an hour of boiling. So if you're like most of us you heat/boil water in your beer can pot for maybe 10 minutes or 1/6 of an hour. One sixth of 32 nanograms is about 5 nanograms. So you have 5 nanograms (5 trillionths of a gram) of BPA in your boiled water or 1/10,000 of the EPA limit.
BPA is easily broken down by the body and excreted within about 2 days.
BPA mimics estrogen. ( As does anything with soy in it I might add.) The concern is that it can have a disruptive effect especially on infants and the children who are developing. Also for certain cancers where estrogen is a stimulator this would obviously not be a good thing. This includes some kinds of breast cancer and prostate cancer.
BPA has been part of our food chain for over 50 years. We probably all have some in us right now. We are all living longer (due in part to plastic used to seal etc) so we have longer exposure times to the multitude of chemicals out there. Several governments including the US are looking hard at the risks, regulations are being developed and employed to limiting BPA use especially in infant's and children's containers. The industry (Nalgene, Platypus, etc.) are moving away from using BPA in their products. But at the present time aluminum cans are lined with plastic that contains BPA.
So is "boiling water in just about any aluminum can … unsafe" as Dan fears?
When I look at the miniscule amounts of BPA that might be present I am not terribly concerned. I think Allison and Roger are the voice of reason here. Dan does have a point and obviously if you are uncomfortable with the thought of any BPA in your life then avoid plastics and good luck.
-MarkDec 8, 2008 at 10:03 pm #1463106
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Hey Mark, Thanks for your insight!!!Dec 8, 2008 at 10:42 pm #1463110
No problem. This "toxic" BPA thing keeps coming up. There are fanatics on both sides of the debate. I did a little research for my own information and thought I would share. Glad you found it useful.
-MarkDec 9, 2008 at 4:46 am #1463129
I only see fanatics on the anti-aluminum and anti-tp sides ; )Dec 9, 2008 at 8:18 am #1463141
Anti-tp?! This could be serious!! ;-)
-MarkDec 9, 2008 at 11:10 am #1463168
>This "toxic" BPA thing keeps coming up
It's good to question these things. If I had infants or young children, I would try to avoid polycarbonates. I don't think fully grown adults have much to worry about. Not only is BPA 'weaker' than estrogen (by like a 1000 fold), but normal, healthy men already have around 120ng of estrogen floating around in their system. Men who are overweight or drink much alcohol will have substantially higher levels. Normal, healthy women will have twice what the men have.
In developed societies, I would say that being overweight is the most common cause of estrogen imbalance. BPA contributes very little. However, I am a full supporter of everyone's right to choose what they put in their body, including drinking beer, or water boiled in the empty beer can. The beer is the more estrogenic of the two (in men)!Dec 9, 2008 at 11:36 am #1463178
I have not stated my fears as Mark Hurd suggests,I only present to you some facts compiled by Dlarson.
The recent removal of Lexan/polycarbonate type water bottles from store shelves comes to mind. As Mark Hurd noted only 32 nanograms of BPA released/ hour of boiling in a polycarbonate bottle was sufficient to have the polycarbonate bottles removed from store shelves.
Links to the information sources given by Dlarson can be found on these two web sites. You can also read comments given by others on those two sites that relate to this topic..
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=43850Dec 9, 2008 at 12:26 pm #1463189
Are you really willing to trust what the EPA suggests? Its recommendations are typically based on industry-generated safety cliams, not independent research.
For example, what about this:
"Although the plastics industry continues to deny the risks of BPA, the tide is turning. Industry officials brushed aside critics of BPA, claiming that the amounts found in humans were so small as to be insignificant. But hormone-mimicking chemicals like BPA don’t work that way. In fact researchers have found that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are more dangerous at lower doses, a notion which
overturns the traditional pharmacological view that ‘the dose makes the poison’. ‘At low doses hormones stimulate their own receptors,’ says Vom Saal. ‘At higher doses they inhibit their responses.’"
"We are living in a stew of toxic chemicals, most of which did not exist before modern synthetic chemistry was born in the crucible of World War Two. Estimates vary — there are more than 80,000 chemicals in industrial production today with hundreds added each year. Few have been tested for their effect on human health or the environment. And, critically, there is almost no knowledge of how chemicals interact with each other to affect our health or the wider environment. When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed in the US in 1976, more than 62,000 chemicals were ‘grandfathered’ into the market — ie no testing, no questions asked. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admits that 95 per cent of all chemicals in the US have not
undergone even minimal testing for toxicity. In the European Union (EU) it’s estimated that two-thirds of the 30,000 most commonly used chemicals have not been vetted. The EPA has banned just five chemicals in the past quarter-century."
It's kinda spooky and cultish that posters here will use a cookpot that they know is toxic in order to save a couple ounces of pack weight. Seems like the slow road to a Darwin Award to me…Dec 9, 2008 at 1:28 pm #1463202
@tbeasleyLocale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Good debate but I would be more worried about exposure from the toxic fumes that from come the alcohol stoves especially from HEET (Methanol) fuel.
TonyDec 9, 2008 at 2:24 pm #1463218
I think a good dose of scinece instead of specualtion and rumour is always the best approach. I went to Medline and got bored after the first three papers (out of hundreds) that have failed to show any effect of BPA on health in adult humans.
This first one shows that ACTIVE BPA (as in the estrogenic form) is rarely found in humans, and even then much of what they found they attributed to the astonomically high levels of BPA found in house dust. The house dust makes a Heine can look like an angel. The average active BPA levels were 800 times below the minimum accepted level.
From: “Determination of free and total bisphenol A in human urine to assess daily uptake as a basis for a valid risk assessment.”
Bisphenol A (BPA) is widely distributed and exhibits weak estrogenic activity. In contrast to BPA, the corresponding glucuronide metabolite is not estrogenic. Therefore, free and total BPA were determined in human urine samples to assess the significance of free BPA for risk assessment. In only 10% of 474 samples from 287 subjects was free BPA detected in a range fromDec 9, 2008 at 3:04 pm #1463226
As an aside, I admit I AM concerned with the amount of BPA being dumped into our environment…6 billion pounds a year are manufactured, and that has to end up somewhere! I worry, not so much for myself, but for much of the wildlife whose young may be affected by in utero and infant exposure. Apparently a LOT of this stuff leaks out of landfills :( Scary.Dec 9, 2008 at 5:11 pm #1463257
@maynard76Locale: New England
Have to agree with Dave on this one. I know the government is much more concerned with the economy than me and my familys health.
Though the doses may be minimal its just one more source to add to the long list of chemicals entering our bodies and its completely unnecessary to use these cans. We have good alternatives that will last a lifetime.Dec 9, 2008 at 5:40 pm #1463268
@redleaderLocale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
I haven't used my Heineken pot setup, and, now, probably won't. I'm old enough not to worry about BPA causing me any particular grief. But the world will still be here after I'm gone and I'd rather it had less crap floating around for future generations to deal with.Dec 9, 2008 at 5:44 pm #1463272
>We have good alternatives that will last a lifetime.
For cooking purposes for sure. For other stuff such as long term storage of food and drinks, it will take a change of buying pressure to find better alternatives. After all, if you are really worried about BPA, then you should avoid sterilised canned foods too. Bottled foods are good as long as protected from breakage and light. Not many other options for long term storage and trasnportation.Dec 9, 2008 at 7:25 pm #1463289
I have to wonder about all this as well.
I have two Heineken pots sitting in my garage (always good fun emptying them), but haven't used them on a trip yet.
I keep going back to the old TI pot that's been everywhere with me.
I have to question, in light of chemicals, poisons, carcinogens, and the like, is it worth the 2 oz. weight savings?
Maybe these chemicals are an issue, maybe not. I honestly have no idea. Pick the data you like.
But I like my "real" pot. Considering the questionable chemicals involved, why should I change? We get enough crap in us as it is.
A few ounces of weight savings makes absolutely no difference to me.Dec 9, 2008 at 9:55 pm #1463323
te – waParticipant
"Studies have shown when cans are heated in the manufacturing process, BPA leaches out of the linings. Foods are first sealed in cans and heated to kill bacteria in the food. Cans are heated to temperatures between 116 C and 121 C, and the length of time varies according to the type of food."
im interested in those studies. can you recall where you saw them in print?
also, do food cans include ALL foods found in cans? like beenie weenie and corn? If so, I think there may be more to worry about since the food is heated to 240°F
there goes Dinty Moore beef stew. (right out the window, jimmy)
but hey, what is written about the type of cans in question? no canned food I purchase comes in aluminum, only tin/steel. Does this matter?
also, what effect does carbonation of beer have on the plastic lining? anybody know?Dec 10, 2008 at 9:08 am #1463377
Here are some links to what was said by Dlarson:
two of the links were not responding, I'll try again.Dec 10, 2008 at 10:02 am #1463387
@redleaderLocale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
That means no Wolf chili. St. Pete, blow…Dec 10, 2008 at 12:20 pm #1463440
>"Studies have shown when cans are heated in the manufacturing process, BPA leaches out of the linings. Foods are first sealed in cans and heated to kill bacteria in the food. Cans are heated to temperatures between 116 C and 121 C, and the length of time varies according to the type of food."
This is just standard canning procedure, aka autoclaving. And yes, tin cans also have a lining.Dec 10, 2008 at 5:22 pm #1463558
Dave H and Brian,
"Are you really willing to trust what the EPA suggests? Its recommendations are typically based on industry-generated safety cliams, not independent research."
Well, yes, I am willing to trust what the EPA suggests in lieu of something better and apparently you aren't. So it goes. I would argue that your second sentence is not entirely true, however, I suspect, as you do, that industry plays a larger roll in the recommendations than we would like. So lets say that their recommendation is off by say a factor of 10, no lets say 100. Then the BPA in my 10 minutes of boiling is no longer 1/10,000 of the EPA recommended amount but is still 1/100 of that recommendation. Still a fairly tiny amount. ( instead of boiling my 2 cups of water for dinner it would be more like 12.5 gal. to get the new revised dose!)
Brian- the reference you site and quote is interesting, but I believe biased ( as am I and as are you). Mr Jeffrey St. Clair, the author, is an activist journalist, not a scientist. This is his opinion and apparently yours. I have my own opinion and I posted it above.
The "stew of toxic chemicals" argument is old. It is true, of course, that we live in a stew of chemicals. We are made up of chemicals. All "chemicals" are toxic if given in sufficient quantities. I think this goes back to the notion that some how "all chemicals are bad" and anything "natural" is good, which of course is absurd.
Let's just say that I believe we live in a time and in a place where our life expectancy is longer than it has ever been, due in some part to all those "chemicals" we use for antibiotics, cancer treatments, purification of water, etc.
Please do not get me wrong. I do not advocate using more "chemicals" than we need. I think that research needs to be continued to identify risks and benefits of "chemicals" we use and develop. If something better or less toxic can be found then use it.
"It's kinda spooky and cultish that posters here will use a cookpot that they know is toxic in order to save a couple ounces of pack weight. Seems like the slow road to a Darwin Award to me…"
Well, Thanks, I always wanted to win an award, but I believe that you are the one that said it is toxic not me. I don't know what you use for a cooking pot, but titanium can be toxic and even the dread EPA thinks more study on exposure should be done. Aluminum is definitely toxic so don't use that. As Tony notes alcohol is toxic so don't use that either. Iron and steel are toxic, but since they have been used for hundreds of years we will grandfather them in. Propane, butane, wood smoke– all toxic.
In the end, everyone needs to come up with their own set of risks and benefits that suits them.
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