Why does my tin can have a plastic liner and is it bad for me?

Why does my tin can have a plastic liner and is it bad for me?


Did you know that aluminium drinks cans have a plastic lining. It’s there to stop acids in the beverage from corroding the metal which is not good for the can or the flavor of the contents.,If you don’t believe me, you can try this experiment, as done by Steve Spangler, to separate the two. However you will need to be “a chemistry teacher or someone with the proper training to handle hazardous chemicals”)

If you are neither, just make do with this picture.

You might wish to know that when the can is recycled, the liner is burnt off.


Nearly all tin cans are plastic lined and have been since the 50s.

In tins the liner can be white or yellow or transparent in which case it is  undetectable.  In most cases it is best to assume that your can has a plastic liner.

They are lined with epoxy resin.

Bad for you?

You might not want to know that the lining contains BPA.

 So what?? To cut a long story short it would seem that BPA is toxic and does leach from plastic liners into the food. However it is in such small amounts as to be negligible. Needless to say there are many who question this finding claiming ones man’s negligible is another man’s cancer. You can read the arguments here 

But why  use BPAat all  you might ask ? Here’s some information from the bishenol-a.org

Metal food and beverage cans have a thin coating on the interior surface, which is essential to prevent corrosion of the can and contamination of food and beverages with dissolved metals (UK FSA, 2002).

In addition, the coating helps to prevent canned foods from becoming tainted or spoiled by bacterial contamination.

The major types of interior can coating are made from epoxy resins, which have achieved wide acceptance for use as protective coatings because of their exceptional combination of toughness, adhesion, formability and chemical resistance.

Such coatings are essentially inert and have been used safely for over 40 years. In addition to protecting contents from spoilage, these coatings make it possible for food products to maintain their quality and taste, while extending shelf life.

Based on the results of the SPI study, the estimated dietary intake of BPA from can coatings is less than 0.00011 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day. This level is more than 450 times lower than the maximum acceptable or “reference” dose for BPA of 0.05 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Stated another way, an average adult consumer would have to ingest more than 230 kilograms (or about 500 pounds) of canned food and beverages every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2002, the safety of epoxy resin can coatings was confirmed by an analysis of the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food (SCF).

Consequently, the potential human exposure to BPA from can coatings is minimal and poses no known risk to human health. Can coatings have been and continue to be recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.K. Food Standards Agency, the EU Scientific Committee on Food and other government bodies worldwide.

It is true that several scientific panels including the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food, the National Toxicology Program and the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis have concluded that the claims that low doses of BPA affect human health have not (yet ), been substantiated. While accepting that animal testing has produced adverse results, they can find no concrete evidence that humans will react the same way.

However there are many counter claims on the internet and in the media  that BPA  is lethal. You can read them here

It must also be noted that  despite claims that BPA is as safe as safe, research is  ongoing into alternatives. And maybe they have found one. According to Food Production Daily

“Researchers in the United States have developed a chemical derived from sugar with the potential to replace bisphenol A (BPA) in a number of products, including the lining of food cans. The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) said Professor Michael Jaffe had received a US patent for an epoxy resin based on isosorbide diglycidyl ether that could make consumer products safer.

“The patent will enable us to create a family of isosorbide-based epoxy resins that have the potential to replace bisphenol A in a number of products including food can linings”, Jaffe told FoodProductionDaily.com.

Note  the statement by Food Production Daily that this will  make consumer products safer. And I hardly need say that the creators of this new product are clear in their statements that BPA is not a good thing.

Hmmm – the choice is yours. As for me I boycott nearly all tins and cans – tonic, tomatoes, coconut milk, tomato puree and baked beans. are the exceptions.

Related Articles

You can find more reports, studies and media scares on BPA here

And how to make epoxy resin here

, , , ,


  1. Pingback: Thinkin’ About Cans |

    1. Polythene Pam

      no they caught me out too! For ages I thought, well I was told that only the white lined ones were plastic. Turns out they nearly all are. Some linings are transparent! Love your blog – we are thinking of doing what you did!

        1. Polythene Pam

          sorry, speed typing again- moving to a small house, somewhere different, living a simpler life… tho our life is already pretty simple. Hope that make a bit more sense?

          1. The Simple Italians

            Oops! It was really my fault. I sometimes forget to look and see which post is being commented on. I’m sort of from the dinosaur age concerning all this stuff!

            Our little house has a lot of drawbacks. It’s very old, which means a lot of work and upkeep, especially in the beginning. We’re still fixing, because funds are low. But when we think of being able to live our retirement years rent-free, it’s worth it to us!

          2. Polythene Pam

            I think property rennovating is really satisfying tho… but then it is my job! But I love seeing something lovely emerge from the rubble. And sometimes slow is best because you have time to develop your decisions. And saving something old that might die otherwise is satisfying. Good luck with it all.

  2. Pingback: Hidden Plastics?! Yikes! 5 x Plastic-Free Tuesday for the advanced

Leave a Reply