By Angela A. Farris
BPA has been in the news for years. Articles focus on potential harm and health dangers of using products containing BPA. Should we really be worried?
BPA, or Bisphenol A, is an organic compound with properties used to produce clear durable plastics and strong hold resins. Current research reviewed by the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration found that low levels of BPA exposure could have potentially harmful effects on the brain, prostate gland, and fetuses, infants and young children. BPA mimics the sex hormone estrogen found naturally in our bodies and can alter our hormonal balance. Disrupting this balance could affect a range of functions like reproduction, development, and metabolism.
Individual state governments are working to ban BPA in baby bottles, but it is not currently banned on a federal level. The FDA is taking precautionary steps to reduce the exposure of BPA in our food supply and products, but BPA is here to stay (for now!).
In stores you’ll see reusable water bottles and plastic containers advertise ‘BPA-free’ prominently on the label. If your plastic or canned good product doesn’t have this notification it likely has trace amounts of BPA. Some items in your home that might contain BPA are baby bottles, metal liners in canned food, plastic food or beverage containers, and most recyclables identified with the recycling number ‘7’.
Want to be BPA-free? Take these small easy steps to reduce your exposure:
1. Replace plastic food containers with BPA-free containers. Try glass, stainless steel, or porcelain - not only are they BPA free; they don’t retain food stains like plastic.
2. Re-heat leftovers on a microwave-safe plate or bowl; avoid microwaving all plastic. BPA is known to leach out of plastic when in the microwave.
3. Try purchasing fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables versus canned goods to avoid metal can liners.
Will you take any precautionary steps to be BPA-free?