Pets Beware: Toxic Chemicals in Pet Food Cans - Press Release

pets looking cute


ANN ARBOR, MI--Cats and dogs are begging for non-toxic canned pet food. In a citizen science study conducted by the Ecology Center’s Healthy Stuff project, pet owners in Southeast Michigan sent 60 dog and cat food cans for identification of resin linings. The study, Pets Beware: Toxic Chemicals in Pet Food Can Linings found:





  • Almost all cat food cans tested (95%) had a polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based coating
  • Most dog food cans (81%) had a bisphenol A (BPA)-based coating
  • Pet food cans overall had a higher frequency of both BPA-based and PVC-based coatings than human food cans.

The can linings identified by the Ecology Center are known to contain chemicals linked to health problems in animals and humans. PVC copolymers, which the study found in almost all cat food can linings, contain hormone-disrupting BPA derivatives that migrate into food.  Most dog food cans contained coatings made from the endocrine disruptor BPA, recently linked to metabolic and gut microbiome changes in dogs consuming canned dog food. A growing body of scientific literature is showing that cat and dogs have significant levels of exposure to toxic chemicals in home environments.


“When dogs consumed canned dog food containing BPA for two weeks, it was associated with metabolic and gut microbiome alterations,” said Cheryl S. Rosenfeld, DVM, PhD, associate professor at the Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri and author of a recent study on the effects of BPA on canine health. “Thus, these recent findings from the Ecology Center raise further concern that potentially all commercial brands of dog and cat food may contain BPA that can lead to potential health effects in our companion animals.”


Pets Beware: Toxic Chemicals in Pet Food Can Linings is a follow-up study to the 2016 report “Buyer Beware: Toxic BPA and regrettable substitutes found in the linings of canned food” co-published by the Ecology Center with Breast Cancer Fund, Campaign for Healthier Solutions, Environmental Defense (Canada), and Mind the Store (a campaign of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families). This study found that 67% of canned food tested contained a BPA-based lining. Moreover, a recent study by the Center for Environmental Health in 2017, “Kicking the Can? Major Retailers Still Selling Canned Food with Toxic BPA” found that 38% of cans tested had BPA-based linings.


“We know that safer substitutes for BPA and PVC are widely available,” said Lauren Olson, science campaign director with the Ecology Center.  “Last year consumer pressure led to Campbell’s and Del Monte making a commitment to phasing out BPA from all their cans. We’re calling on pet food companies to follow their lead and remove these harmful chemicals from their products.”


The Ecology Center will reach out to the major manufacturers of the canned pet food tested asking them to make a commitment to safer substitutes in their can linings. 




Pets Beware: Toxic Chemicals in Pet Food Can Linings or


Ann Arbor, MI, June 29, 2017








Ecology Center is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization established in 1970 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Ecology Center develops innovative solutions for healthy people and a healthy planet in four primary areas: Environmental Health, Sustainable Food, Energy & Climate Change, and Zero Waste. This work is accomplished through educating consumers to help keep their families healthy and safe, pushing corporations to use clean energy, make safe products, and provide healthy food, providing people with innovative services that promote healthy people and a healthy planet and working with policymakers to establish laws that protect communities and the environment. For more information visit and follow @Ecology_Center