You may have heard of the controversy of BPA (bisphenol-A) in plastic baby bottles. This chemical is known to act as an endocrine disrupter. Some studies have suggested a link with BPA to breast and prostate cancers, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, behavior problems and reproductive disorders. However, the food and chemical industries maintain that science has not proven that BPA is a danger to health, and that it is an important ingredient for food safety.
As a result of public concern, several states have issued a ban on baby bottles containing BPA, and 6 major manufactures of baby bottles have agreed to a voluntary ban on the chemical in their products. But did you know that there are many more products on the market that expose people to this controversial chemical?
1. Canned Goods
Most canned goods are lined in epoxy resins that contain BPA. The chemical can easily leach into the food. Acidic foods (like tomatoes) and canned soups have been shown to have some of the highest levels of BPA contamination.
2. Toilet Paper
One study showed that toilet paper containing BPA was a source of xenoestrogen contamination in wastewater.
3. Beer and Wine
When these alcoholic beverages are fermented in BPA lined vats, they can become contaminated with the chemical.
4. Recycled Paper Products
The manufacturing process introduces the chemical into the products.
5. Credit Card Receipts
One side of the paper is coated with the chemical.
6. Plastic Cups
BPA in plastic sippy cups may be harmful to toddlers.
7. Drinking Water Containers
The hard plastic ones that have a blue tint to them.
8. Baby Food Jars
The inside of the lids often contain BPA.
Not all exposure is equal. Although it is probably not necessary to avoid handling credit card receipts, cutting down on the amount of canned foods that you consume might be a good idea. By substituting fresh or frozen vegetables for canned, you will also cut down on your sodium intake.
For canned foods that you just cannot do without, consider trying the “Eden Foods” brand. They use BPA free cans for their products. Keep in mind that some of their foods have tested positive for very low levels (1 ppb) of BPA. This is because some of the ingredients that they use (like tomatoes) come in packaging containing the chemical. Currently, there is no alternative to BPA linings for highly acidic foods. A lining is needed to keep the highly acidic foods from leaching the metal from the cans into the food.
Another way to cut down on exposure is to avoid (#7) polycarbonate plastic containers; unless they specify that they are BPA free. It’s also important to use glass containers, instead of plastics, when storing and microwaving foods. Avoid putting plastics in the dishwasher or washing with harsh detergents, as these practices could contribute to the leaching of the chemical from the containers.
BPA has been found in 93 to 95% of humans tested. It’s found in higher concentrations in children and women. It may be decades before we know the whole story of the effects of this chemical on the population.