What is BPA? Why is it bad? What can I do?

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

This week, I would like to focus on BPA for my Growing Greener feature. When we buy baby products, we are all aware at this point that it is important to buy “BPA free” but does that mean our families are safe from BPA? And what is BPA anyway?

What is BPA?
According to the authors of a study on BPA in food packaging study, BPA or Bisphenol A is a chemical used to make linings of food cans which forms a protective barrier between the metal of a can and the food. Wikipedia further explains: “Bisphenol A is used primarily to make plastics, and products containing bisphenol A-based plastics have been in commerce use since 1957.[12] At least 8 billion pounds of BPA are used by manufacturers yearly.

Why is it bad?
According to the BPA and food packaging study mentioned above, 93% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. The authors of this study further explain that BPA is an endocrine disrupter so it disrupts hormone systems. Studies suggest that it might play a role in breast cancer, prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty, obesity, diabetes, and ADD/ADHD.

What can I do?
The potential effects of BPA are scary, but we don’t have to be unwilling victims. There are many things we can do to limit our families’ exposure to this compound.

Know where BPA is commonly found. According to Wikipedia:
– Plastic baby bottle
– Plastic water bottles
– Sports equipment
– Medical and dental devices
– Dental fillings and sealants
– Eyeglasses lenses
– CDs and DVDs
– Household electronics
– Almost all food and beverage cans
– Receipt paper
– Water pipe lining

If BPA is in all of these things, how can I reduce exposure???
The Breast Cancer Fund recommends that you avoid these 10 canned foods:
1. Coconut milk
2. Soup
3. Meat
4. Vegetables
5. Meals (e.g., ravioli in sauce)
6. Juice
7. Fish
8. Beans
9. Meal-replacement drinks
10. Fruit

Is it really worth it just to avoid these canned foods?
Yes! The aforementioned BPA and food packaging study showed that five families lowered their BPA levels by about 60% when they consumed only the fresh foods (not packaged in cans or plastic) given to them by the researchers over the course of only three days!

The study authors encourage everyone to buy BPA free products, avoid foods that are packaged in cans and plastic whenever possible, store your food in stainless steel or glass containers, and avoid microwaving food in plastic containers.

We’ve demanded BPA-free baby bottles and now we all have that option, but we need to let the government know that we will no longer stand for BPA in our food packaging either.

Challenge yourself to avoid BPA for a week and see how it goes! Let’s make the small choices that have big health results for our families!

For more information on how you can protect your family from BPA, check out these resources on Healthy Child Healthy World’s web site.

Sigg Bottle from CafePress

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