This has been the first year in many, many, many years that my home canning in down. Despite that, I am always on the look-out for home canning products. One of the recent food contaminants concerns has been BPA (Bisphenol-A), an additive found in many plastics. Most of the exposure to BPA is dietary through plastic food containers and the lining in metal cans. The general work around is to avoid using plastics entirely and if not possible use BPA-free plastics. Home canners, however were forced to use BPA lined single use canning lids unless they used glass inserts or Tattler reusable canning lids. [Please note the warning against using the 4ever Recap canning lids as they have an extremely high seal failure rate during storage.]
I recently discovered Bernardin BPA-free canning lids at Dollarama. Dollarama is currently the cheapest source for the single use canning lids. A couple of years ago a package of 12 cost $1 but now they are $1.50, still almost half the cost of other retailers. A lost cost BPA-free canning lid is definitely a welcomed addition in the home canning world!
Visually there is very little difference between the BPA-free lids and those containing BPA. In comparison to the older gold colour Bernardin lids, the underside is whiter than the newer silver lids. The newer lids with BPA are very slightly mottled while the BPA-free lids look smoother. Other than that, you can't really tell the difference. You can however, have peace of mind that you are not contaminating your food with BPA.
I currently have a stash of 36 boxes of snap lids in three sizes (standard, widemouth, Gem). As I use those boxes I am replacing with the BPA-free lids. In general, food does not come into contact with the plastic coating when foods are properly processed in a boiling water bath canner. Food will come into contact with the plastic coating when foods are pressure canned. It is imperative to follow the instructions with the lids as the prep has changed. The plastisol sealant on the new lids (with or without BPA) has changed so there is no longer a need to boil or heat the lids before processing. Simply place them on the prepared jars and continue with the sealing process.