Products labeled BPA-free may be even more toxic than those with BPA.
BPA is a chemical found in commonly used commercial products. Even if you have no interest in this site (sad for me) or me (double sad for me), hear this: BPA can act as a synthetic estrogen, and even in the smallest amounts, can cause horrible illnesses, including some cancers, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, early puberty, behavioral changes in children, weight gain, and infertility.1 It can also affect testosterone, thyroid hormones, and estrogen, making it a proven edocrine-disruptor. 2
BPA is everywhere: It’s used to make consumer goods containing plastic, including food and beverage containers, and to line canned goods. One study out of Harvard School of Public Health had volunteers eat just one serving of canned soup per day. At the end of only five days, participants had ten-times the amount of BPA in their blood than those who consumed fresh soup.3 It also coats plastic bags, including grocery and produce bags, as well as store receipts, of which the coating can transfer to hands through normal handling. 4 Retail employees were found to have at least 30% more BPA in their system than the average adult.5 And one VERY important fact to consider: Companies have started to replace BPA with other substances, which are often more toxic than BPA.
One study tested 500 plastic food containers, including those labeled BPA-free. Almost ALL of them leached chemicals that had estrogen-like activity. The worst part? Products advertised as BPA-free were found to be more harmful than those without the label. 6
There is no requirement for safety testing before plastics are sold to consumers. Ditching plastic is a good start to avoid BPA’s, but, it’s still not the best solution. You must become a detective. Look around your house: Are you chopping on a plastic cutting board, using canned foods, drinking from plastic water bottles, packing food in plastic bags for lunches or at the grocery store, or grabbing a receipt when a cashier offers it?
Clearly we still want to exist in society without acting a fool. 7 Signing receipts, buying groceries, and drinking water shouldn’t be so difficult. Here’s what you can do to reduce your family’s exposure:
- When packing lunches or snacks, replace plastic bags for:
- Replace old, insulated lunch bags with a safe, non-toxic version; this is the one I pack Husband’s lunch in;
- Avoid covering with foil or plastic wrap, opt for fabric bowl covers;
- Same goes for wrapping leftovers — simply replace plastic wrap or foil with an organic, sustainable wrap;
- Try to purchase food in paper or glass instead of cans, such as tomatoes and beans;
- Bring your own grocery bags and produce bags to the supermarket;
- Limit touching retail receipts when possible, and if you do, wash your hands afterwards;
- Don’t let children touch receipts;
- Throw away receipts instead of recycling them — the toxins can contaminate the new recycled product;
- Choose a stainless steel water bottle made without a plastic cap; and
- Lastly, even when labeled BPA-free, still stay away.
- “EWG’s Guide to BPA”, http://www.ewg.org/bpa ↩
- Kitamura S, Suzuki T, Sanoh S, Kohta R, Jonno N, Sugihara K, Yoshihara S, Fuimoto N, Watanabe H, Ohta S. Comparative study of the endocrine-disrupting activity of bisphenol A and 19 related compounds. Toicol Sci. 2005 Apr;84(2):249-59 ↩
- Consuming canned soup linked to greatly elevated levels of the chemical BPA”, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/canned-soup-bpa ↩
- Biederman, S., et al. Transfer of bisphenol A from thermal printer paper. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. Online, 2010, Vol. July 11. ↩
- http://wwwn.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/search/nhanes03_04.aspx ↩
- Yang CA, Yangiger SI, Jordan VC, Klein DJ, Bittner GD. Most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals: a potential health problem that can be solved. Environ Health Perspect. 2011; 119:989-96 ↩
- This link has no importance to this article. It just cracks me up. ↩