Toxic Timeout: All About Bisphenol A (BPA)

What is it? Bisphenol A – or BPA for short – is an industrial chemical that has been used to make plastic and metal bottles and cans since the 1960s. Water bottles, beverage cans and canned foods are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to human exposure: BPA can contaminate food from the linings of cans and plastic products made with BPA, and if the food is acidic (like tomatoes) or hot (tea in a plastic mug), the amount of BPA leached grows exponentially.

Health risk: BPA is considered an endocrine disruptor, which means it can disrupt the natural ebb and flow of hormones in your body’s endocrine system. Tests have shown that BPA may promote breast cancer cell growth in women, and cause sexual problems such as lowered sperm count and erectile dysfunction in men. Infants and young children are particularly susceptible to BPA’s endocrine dangers as they relate to brain and hormone development, while adults may develop heart disease, liver problems and diabetes due to the toxic chemical.

What to do: Luckily, there are many ways for you to protect yourself (and your family) from the dangers of Bisphenol A:

  • Seek out canned and bottled goods with a “BPA-Free” label. If no label is present, keep in mind that most aluminum cans and bottles are lined with BPA, while the steel variety are generally BPA-free. Still uncertain about that plastic milk jug? Check the recycling number: BPA-laden plastics are labeled with the number 7.
  • Use alternatives such as glass, steel and ceramic.
  • Should worst case scenario happen and you come across a BPA laced container, do not microwave or wash in a dishwasher, and do not reuse.

Non-toxic alternatives to try: We love Lifefactory glass bottles in lieu of plastic, and fill our fridge with Duralex Lys Square Bowls to keep leftovers safe and sound. For a brand that keeps BPA away from their canned goods, scope out Eden Organic products at your local market or co-op.

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