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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chemicals to Avoid–BPA

This post is part of an ongoing series on Avoiding Toxins in our Lives.  To read more on how to avoid toxins click here

I have been limiting my exposure to BPA ever since I first heard about the dangers of it.  I used to have one those fancy name brand plastic refillable water bottles. They held 32 ounces and were refillable. But I noticed that over time they developed scratches when I cleaned them. I started to be concerned about the bacteria that could be found in the cracks.  Little did I know that I needed to be concerned about the BPA. I made sure to replace my refillable durable plastic water bottles with new ones regularly. I made sure we did not reuse the plastic water bottles I would buy by the case at the store.

Why do You Need to Be Concerned About BPA?

BPA is an endocrine disrupter. What does that mean?  An endocrine disrupter  can mimic the body's own hormones, in this case, estrogen and may lead to negative health effects. Not surprisingly , pregnant women and young children seem to be most bothered by the affects of BPA.
In recent years dozens of scientists around the globe have linked BPA to myriad health effects in rodents: mammary and prostate cancer, genital defects in males, early onset of puberty in females, obesity and even behavior problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. .(source)
BPA has been linked to a host of other health problems including:
Where do you Find BPA ?

BPA is generally found in plastics with a recycle code of 3 or 7. So what does that mean? How do you know if something has BPA in it?
Unfortunately for us the most common sources of BPA are our food containers. Plastic bottles and most canned goods. But you can also find BPA in
  • Plastic baby bottles
  • Plastic water bottles
  • Dental fillings and sealants
  • Eyeglasses lenses 
  • Almost all food and beverage cans
  • Cash register receipts
  • Water pipe lining
How Can You Avoid BPA?

How can you avoid BPA? Avoiding BPA is not easy, but it can be done. One of the best ways to avoid BPA is to avoid plastics with the number 7. Not all number 7 plastics have BPA, as this number is used as a catch-all for many plastics. Additionally you will want to avoid any poly carbonate plastics. Poly carbonate plastics are hard and rigid. They are used in sippy cups, baby bottles, food storage containers, and water bottles.
BPA seems to react with heat, so it is best not to use any plastic containers, or plates in the microwave. 
  • Be sure to use BPA free baby bottles if you bottle feed your baby, as  babies absorb more BPA per body weight than an adult does.
  • If you are formula feed (Granola Catholic recommends breastfeeding whenever possible) EWG recommends using powdered formula as it has less exposure to BPA
  • Avoid canned food, especially acidic foods, like tomatoes. Acidic foods break down the BPA quicker. Only a few brands of food are not lined in BPA.  Tree Huger has a comprehensive list of these.
  • Just say no to cash register receipts. Thermal receipts are coated in BPA.
  • Nurse your baby, no need to worry about the container it comes in.
  • Use glass and ceramic containers for drinking and eating.

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