BPA Plastics and Our Health
If you are anything like me, there is a lot on your plate, work, family, friends, being cognizant of self-care (wait…come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve taken care of myself recently…well, we’ll come back to that one later…I have some great recommendations). Ok, back to our busy lives…we get bombarded with trying to eat clean and healthy, don’t use this product, use that product, you get the picture. So, today let’s start with one thing you can do to make a difference, limit using products with BPA. Let’s breakdown why should we all care what is BPA.
What Is BPA and Why Should I Care?
BPA stands for bisphenol A. It is an industrial chemical that has been used since the 1960s to make certain plastics. It is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, specifically these substances are used to make containers that store food and beverages. They can also be used in other products we come in contact, as well such as coating the inside of metal products, food cans, bottle tops, water supply lines, some dental sealants and many other things.
Where the concern lies is that research has shown BPA can seep into foods or beverages from the containers that are made with BPA. Overtime, links are being made due to this exposure which is causing health effects on fetuses, infants, children and adults in many different forms. Historically, the FDA has stated that low levels of exposure are safe; however, as more detailed research is being performed, we are learning more about the effects of BPA. You’re probably thinking I’m overwhelmed! Hold that thought for a few more minutes. I’m going to take a sidestep for those who are interested in the science around this. I’ll come back to practical, day-to-day things you can do to limit BPA.
How Much BPA Are We Really Exposed To?
In December 2019, findings from a new study were published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, detailing a new more accurate test for bisphenol A (BPA) exposure in humans.
Historically, regulatory agencies used indirect methods to assess BPA levels in humans and created safety thresholds based on these methods. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, University of Missouri and Washington State University, utilized more recent technology which takes metabolites from human urine to directly measure how much BPA is being metabolized in the human body.
In 2012, BPA was removed from baby bottles and sippy cups after a successful campaign was launched, in the early 2000s, over the endocrine disruption that had been linked, particularly during pregnancy and early childhood. Studies found correlations with early onset obesity, cardiovascular disease, thyroid dysfunction, breast cancer and behavioral issues in children. The Endocrine Society has made recent statements regarding concerns over human exposure to BPA and its "newer" replacement bisphenols like BPS and BPF. Bisphenols are found in plastics (recycling label "7"), epoxy resins that line canned foods and beverages, and on thermal receipts.
The study team first looked at pregnant women in their second trimester and found that using the new direct methods of testing for BPA, women measured up to 44 times more BPA compared to the indirect tests used by the federal government to create safety limits. Because pregnancy causes changes in metabolism, the study was then done on a small group of men and non-pregnant women with similar results.
Other endocrine disrupting chemicals are currently measured using the same indirect methods, raising the question if multiple safety levels are under reporting the true human exposure. We hope that this research will only be the beginning of more extensive research into human safety and chemical exposure.
What Can I Do About It?
We do know that BPA leaches into food and one clear way to avoid plastics and all BPA alternatives is to choose glass or stainless-steel water bottles and cups.
Pura is a stainless steel and silicone bottle company that is "Made Safe" approved. We will be carrying Pura at our new location in LoHi.
Munchkin 360 stainless steel sippy cups are dentist recommended for the design and are easily available for purchase. You can even find these at many local grocery stores.
Because BPA is known to leak into food and the risk increases with exposure to heat, we recommend glass containers for items you are storing and reheating. At a minimum, please don't microwave plastics.
These Black+Blum bento boxes are an excellent adult lunchbox for those who take their lunch to work and are hard on travel. Otherwise our Ween Green and other versions of glass containers are great solutions for your food storage.
Lunchbot is another popular brand that we love to endorse even though we can no longer carry.
Silicone food pouches are an alternative for those who use lots of Ziploc in your home.