Crista’s final post for the week is all about BPA. I’ve always tried to avoid buying products with BPA because I’d always heard that it was bad for you, but I wasn’t sure why. Well, this post will explain it.
Another issue that I keep hearing about is the controversy surrounding BPA. BPA, or Bisphenol A, is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. This controversial chemical can be found in many things that we use every day, including water bottles and the lining of food cans. The BPA in these containers seeps into the food or beverages. BPA is also on thermal paper that is used to make sales receipts and in a lot of sports equipment, kids toys, medical and dental devices, dental filling sealant, dvds and cds, household electronics, eye glass lenses, foundry castings, and the lining of some water pipes. What makes BPA so dangerous? Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor which can mimic estrogen. More specifically, BPA closely mimics the structure and function of the hormone estradiol with the ability to bind to and activate the same estrogen receptor as the natural hormone. Early developmental stages appear to be the period of greatest sensitivity to its effects, and some studies have linked prenatal exposure to later physical and neurological difficulties.
Some Administrations maintain that BPA presents no risk to the general population. However, experts in the field of endocrine disruptors have stated that the entire population may suffer adverse health effects from current BPA levels. In 2009, The Endocrine Society released a statement citing the adverse effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and the controversy surrounding BPA. In 2012 the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles.
In 2006, the US Government sponsored an assessment of the scientific literature on BPA. Thirty-eight experts in fields involved with bisphenol A reviewed several hundred studies on BPA, many conducted by members of the group. The group issued the Chapel Hill Consensus Statement, which states, “BPA at concentrations found in the human body is associated with organizational changes in the prostate, breast, testis, mammary glands, body size, brain structure and chemistry, and behavior of laboratory animals.” The Chapel Hill Consensus Statement found that average levels in people are above those that cause harm to many animals in laboratory experiments (ncbi).
- Seek out BPA-free products. More and more BPA-free products are on the shelves. Look for products labeled as BPA-free. If a product isn’t labeled, keep in mind that some, but not all, plastics marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.
- Cut back on cans. Reduce your use of canned foods since most cans are lined with BPA-containing resin. Some companies, Such as Eden, are now using BPA Free lining.
- Avoid heat. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, advises against microwaving polycarbonate plastics or putting them in the dishwasher, because the plastic may break down over time and allow BPA to leach into foods.
- Use alternatives. Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead of plastic containers. (mayoclinic)
Have you taken any steps to reduce your exposure?