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We present data showing that some foods preserved in lacquer-coated cans and the liquid in them may acquire estrogenic activity. Hormonal activity was measured using the E-screen bioassay. The biological activity of vegetables packed in cans was a result of plastic monomers used in manufacturing the containers. The plastic monomer bisphenol-A, identified by mass spectrometry, was found as a contaminant not only in the liquid of the preserved vegetables but also in water autoclaved in the cans. The amount of bisphenol-A in the extracts accounted for all the hormonal activity measured. Although the presence of other xenoestrogens cannot be ruled out, it is apparent that all estrogenic activity in these cans was due to bisphenol-A leached from the lacquer coating. The use of plastic in food-packaging materials may require closer scrutiny to determine whether epoxy resins and polycarbonates contribute to human exposure to xenoestrogens.