BPA = Bisphenol-A
What is BPA?
BPA. Weíve all heard it before. It has been all over the media, and companies everywhere are advertising their products as BPA-free. But what is it? BPA stands for Bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen used to harden polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resin. In other words, itís a chemical known to mimic the hormone estrogen and used to harden plastics for products we use on a daily basis.
BPA is a type of endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) that can have harmful effects on the human body. When plastics we use have BPA in them, the chemical often breaks down and leaches into the food or drink the plastic is storing. BPA is known to leach at a faster rate when the plastic container has been heated or washed with detergents. While there are alternatives to BPA, manufacturers are not required to use the alternatives when creating their products. Moreover, these manufacturers are not required by law to disclose whether or not their product contains BPA. So we may not know for sure whether the plastics we are using actually have BPA in them or not!
Studies have shown that exposure to BPA and traces of BPA in humans can lead to...
- Abnormal chromosomes
- Abnormalities in fat metabolism
- Development of insulin resistance
- Erectile dysfunction
- Heart disease
- Early onset of puberty
- Increased susceptibility to breast and prostate cancer
Where is BPA found?
BPA leaches out of thousands of plastic products. Below is just handful of common consumer products where BPA is found:
- Cell phone casings
- Canned foods
- Soda cans
- Cash register receipts
- Plastic beverage bottles
- Epoxy paint and coatings
- Plastic baby bottles
- Reusable plastic water bottles
Tips to Help Avoid Exposure
- Avoid canned infant formula. Instead, you can try using dry, powdered formula or if possible, try breast feeding. Since infants and young children are most vulnerable, we want to do the best we can to protect them from the beginning.
- Avoid canned foods A simple change is to eat more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and homemade meals.
- Stop using reusable plastic bottles. Switch out plastic bottles for stainless steel or glass.
- Do not use bottles made of polycarbonate plastic often marked with recycling symbol #7. Again, use a reusable stainless steel or glass bottle to take with you on the go. Most times bottles are made just the right size so they can fit in your carís cup holder. Keep in mind, however, that there are some plastics marked with the #7 that are not polycarbonate. They are made of biodegradable products, which are not known to contain BPA.
- Say no to cash register receipts. Not only do cash register receipts have traces of BPA on them, but they are also a waste of paper, especially because many companies today have the option of emailing a receipt.
Interesting facts about BPA
- Infants and young children are most vulnerable.
- The FDA changed its position on BPA in January 2010 and no longer claims that BPA contamination in food and beverages is safe.