The study highlights the challenges consumers face in trying to limit their exposure to the hormone-disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), a compound used to make, among other things, resins that coat the inside of food cans and jar lids, researchers said.

Different foods have different amounts of BPA contamination, they said.

"I could eat three cans of peaches, and you could eat one can of cream of mushroom soup and have a greater exposure to BPA," said Jennifer Hartle from Stanford University in the US.

Previous research has focused on analysing levels of BPA in canned products and measuring BPA exposure within groups of fewer than 75 people.

Evaluating both dietary sources of BPA contamination and BPA levels in the urine of people who recently consumed canned food, the new analysis assessed thousands of people of various ages, and geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Researchers found that canned food was associated with higher urinary BPA concentrations, and the more canned food consumed, the higher the BPA.

The result confirms canned food's outsized influence on exposure to BPA, researchers said.

BPA is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health effects, they said.

Researchers also found that particular kinds of canned food were associated with higher urinary BPA concentrations.

The worst offenders were canned soup, canned pasta, and canned vegetables and fruit.

The findings were published in the journal Environmental Research.

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