BPA has been around for many years but only recently came into the spotlight a few years ago. Until then, it led a relatively quiet existence in many of our products. Even now, it exists in many consumer products that I’m sure you haven’t even considered!
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic compound that is used with other materials to make plastic. It has hormone-like properties which is why it’s use in many consumer products is questioned.
BPA has been used a flame-retardant, fungicide in thermal paper and carbonless copy paper, lining plastic pipes, lining tin cans and beverage cans, plastics including baby bottles, water bottles, dental fillings, CDs and eyeglass lenses.
Plastics are numbered with a recycling code (numbers 1 to 7). 7 is the catch-all and some (but not all) of type 3 and 7 can contain BPA.
So lets assume you’re handling BPA on a daily basis – the DVD you chuck into your player, the receipts you handle during your daily activities from depositing money at the bank to buying groceries, inside your cola can and lining the tin of baked beans you feed the kids, on your face in your glasses, even in your mouth in your dentistry work.
The reason this is a problem is because BPA is a hormone disruptor – it can mimic estrogen and this can start in prenatally – so our unborn babies are exposed.
Some of the health effects that experts worry about include neurological issues, thyroid problems, cancer, reproductive system, and changes in DNA.
You can see that this will affect body weight, changes to the genital tract, changes in breast tissue, decreased activity in antioxident enzymes, puberty, hormones, maternal behaviour, brain structure, brain function, insulin activity…. many ways that our body performs!
You cant remove BPA entirely from your environment in the modern world that we live in.
But here are some ways to limit exposure:
*Use BPA-free baby bottles
*Only microwave food in containers specifically designed for this – for example, ceramic, glass or BPA-free plastic (Tupperware and Sistema have such products) and only ever REHEAT food in the microwave – use medium heat.
*Find infant formula that isn’t in tin containers or in cartons lined with BPA. Impossible? Start writing and ringing the manufacturers to ask them if their products are in BPA free tin.
*Don’t let cling wrap touch your food
*Opt for fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables or those preserved in glass jars over tin cans.
*Skip plastic bags
*Use reusable water bottles – and that doesn’t mean re-using the cheap supermarket water bottles! Invest in some quality water bottles you can refill.
*Dont reuse one-time use plastics, such as your take-away containers and plastic water bottles. Instead, recycle or upcycle them.
I highly reccomend reading: “Slow Death By Rubber Duck” (Smith/Lourie) if you are interested in knowing more.