Hello all and thanks for tuning in. This week, I am highlighting a chemical that is ubiquitous in our homes, works and even refrigerators. This chemical is found on store receipts, so I avoid touching them, and I especially don’t want it put in my grocery bag atop the produce. Even La Croix cans are not spared, which was news to me. Prior to learning this, I drank cans of La Croix more than I want to admit, and even let my baby drink from them. Read on to learn about Bisphenol A and why you should never microwave plastic.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical that is commonly used to make hard clear plastics called polycarbonate, some sealants, and thermal paper which is used to print receipts.
A study conducted by National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found detectable levels of BPA in 93 percent of Americans six years and older (1).
Why should we avoid BPA?
BPA is metabolized by the liver and due to its chemical structure, BPA can interact with estrogen receptors in the body. This interaction has been shown to play a role in diseases that involve the endocrine, or hormonal systems. Some of these pathologies include: male and female infertility, early puberty, cancers and metabolic disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) (2).
Despite the fact that BPA has been linked to deleterious health effects, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes the stand that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods (3).
Where is BPA found?
This chemical enters our bodies through food and beverages that have been in contact with the polycarbonate plastics made with BPA. Here are some examples of where BPA can be found:
- Canned foods because most metals are lines with BPA
- Sports water bottles made prior to July 2012
- Baby bottles, sippy cups and other containers made for children may contain BPA if bought before July 2011
- Other hard, clear plastic food or beverage containers
- Cash register receipts
- On plastics with the #7 on the bottom
How to limit or avoid BPA exposure (4):
- Choose fresh, frozen, or dried foods instead of canned
- Limit your consumption of packaged foods
- If you cannot avoid metal cans, rinse the foods with water before consumption because this can help lower BPA level in the food
- Transfer foods that are in plastic or metal cans to a stainless steel pot or pan for stovetop cooking, or microwave in glass
- Search for your favorite foods and beverages in the Environmental Working Groups BPA product list
- Use BPA-free products especially when buying bottles and toys
- Avoid plastic containers with #7 on the bottom