Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why You Should Care About BPA

Remember a few years ago when there was a big public out cry, and then baby bottles started showing up BPA- free. The FDA has finally caught up to the public out cry and has banned BPA from baby bottles.  If it is gone from baby bottles then we are good, right?  Oh if only it stopped there.  

The first use of Bisphenol-A, or BPA, was to enhance the growth of cattle and poultry. The second use of BPA in the mid 1930s was as an estrogen replacement for women. It is an endocrine disruptor and can mimic estrogen, leading to health problems.   That means it can act as estrogen not only in women, but also in men and children!

Although BPA has been removed from baby bottles, it is still lining the cans of infant formula, canned food, canned drinks, and much more, which are all leading to continued exposure and build up in our bodies.  The FDA revised its opinion and said there is “some concern” about the chemical’s impact on the brain and reproductive system of infants, babies and young children.


Newborn drinking milk
(Photo from stock.xchng)
Starting in 2008, several governments questioned it's safety. A 2010 report from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised further concerns regarding exposure to fetuses, infants, and young children.[2] In September 2010, Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance.  The European Union, Canada, and recently the United States have banned BPA use in baby bottles.  (source)
Scientists pushing for a ban on the chemical argue that BPA mimics the effects of the hormone estrogen, interfering with growth and development.- Washington Post Article
Although it is still being studied, there is reason to believe that BPA exposure can lead to a higher risk of getting cancer.


With the possibility of it being linked to added hormones like BPA, girls are starting their periods at much younger ages than ever before.  Averaging at age 12.5 years, and sometimes being as early as before 10 years old.  This age is much younger than it was several decades ago.  We are pumping fake hormones into their bodies with no guarantee that it won't effect them.

BPA isn't the only culprit out there.  In many cases in plastics it has been replaced by BPB, which can be almost as bad.  When it comes to plastic and our food we just have to be careful because all plastics are full of chemicals.  There is hope though.

How to limit your exposure:

Collection of canned goods Royalty Free Stock Photo
(Photo from istock.com)
  • Don't allow a plastic container to become hot, either in the sun or in the microwave.  When plastics are heated they release chemicals.
  • Try to limit how much canned food you eat.  It takes a little more planning but dry beans are very nutritious and cost less than canned.  Buy fruit and vegetables that are fresh or frozen.  Buy tuna in a   pouch, or as fresh or frozen fish.  The more acidic a food is (like tomatoes) the quicker it disolves the BPA into the food.
  • If you really want to keep some canned food on hand opt for a brand that is BPA free it like these.  Several of these brands can be bought at a discount at http://www.vitacost.com/.
  • If you drink a soda, or other canned beverage, opt instead for a drink in a glass bottle, or even a plastic bottle as opposed to the BPA lined can.
  • Receipts – You know how most modern receipts have a really smooth texture? That slick coating usually contains (you guessed it) BPA. And it’s no trivial nanogram quantity – we’re talking sizeable amounts that can pass into your skin or consumed when you eat. Studies on exactly how much ends up in the body are forthcoming, but at least this one is easy to avoid: just say no to receipts. (source)  I often wash my hands right after handling receipts.  As a woman I am already hormonal enough.  LOL
Lab results from a study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group found thermal paper used by a number of major U.S. companies including McDonald's, CVS Pharmacy, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Walmart, Safeway, Whole Foods and the U.S. Postal Service had register receipts with 250 to 1,000 times more BPA than products already known to contain the chemical, including  baby bottles and canned foods.  (source)       
Bills
(Photo from stock.xchng)

Some stores have receipts that have little to no BPA on them including Target, Bank of America ATMs and Starbucks.  A sure way to spot a BPA free receipt is to look on the
back.  If it looks like it was made with lots of tiny red lines of paper mixed in, then that receipt should be BPA free.

 It's a lot to take in, but it's also a wake up call that we are living in an environment that isn't ideal for our health.  However, with a few simple changes to what we choose to buy and do we can greatly reduce the amount of BPA that we are exposed to.

I would love to hear what you think...

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