How often do you see products that tout they are “BPA free” ? A lot, right?
Is BPA toxic?
BPA or Bisphenol A is one of those additives that companies snuck into products for years. It’s used in hard plastics and epoxies to ensure less breakage and longer shelf lives. But, in reality BPA is toxic and it’s poisoning the population!
Now that it’s been linked to a slew of health problems there’s a huge effort to eliminate it from our daily lives. But unfortunately there’s still a long way to go before toxic BPA products are no longer manufactured. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
It can be difficult to avoid BPA. But if you’re educated on where to look out for it you can do your best stear clear it.
What are Xenoestrogens?
It’s been long known that BPA or is an xenoestrogen and endocrine disruptor. This can cause many different health problems for people.
Synthetic and chemical xenoestrogens mimic naturally occurring estrogens in the body. It goes without saying that too much estrogen in anyone’s system can cause some serious issues.
What are the side effects of BPA toxicity?
For men, exposure to BPA toxins can lower testosterone levels. Low testosterone can lead to many health problems. While low testosterone might happen to some men as the age, recent studies how that men younger and younger are having these issues. Some of the symptoms include:
- Low sex drive
- Low sperm count or infertility
- Loss in muscle mass / increased fat distribution
- Bone density
Since xenoestrogens imitate the hormone estrogen, this clearly will have an effect on women’s health as well. Some of the common BPA side effects in women include:
- Breast cancer
- Estrogen Dominance
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Weight gain
- Prenatal issues and conditions passed onto offspring
And it doesn’t stop at men and women – children are affected too.
Asthma has been linked to xenoestrogens and BPA in infants. Studies have indicated that early puberty is a serious side effect too, affecting both boys and girls.
Some doctors will try to medicate you to fix these issues. The truth is that if you eliminate what’s causing them in the first place, you could completely reverse these symptoms yourself!
In what types of products is BPA found?
In the kitchen, you can find BPA in:
- Cookware coating
- Plastic storage containers
- Plastic reusable water bottles (Polycarbonate plastic #7, especially when heated)
- Canned foods
- Canned drinks
- Older model children’s and baby’s sippy cups and bottles
- Non-organic fruit
However, there are many more places toxic BPA can be found outside the kitchen such as:
- Fast food
- Consumer receipts (receipt paper is sprayed with BPA to reduce yellowing)
- Cosmetics and personal products
- Baby pacifiers
- Medical devices
- Hand sanitizers
How can I avoid coming into contact with BPA?
Manufacturers are sometimes vague when it comes to the types of plastics used in manufacturing. It can be difficult to verify if there is indeed BPA in a plastic. Recyclables marked #7 may have BPA in them, but not necessarily. You’ll have to do your research.
Recently, it’s been found that even in BPA free plastic products, some of the other resins and additives used are still harming people similarly to toxic BPA.
One of the most foolproof ways to avoid this would be to eliminate all plastics from your life. Well…easier said than done. Plastic manufacturing has gotten so inexpensive that it’s virtually impossible to avoid it completely day to day.
A couple of things I do to avoid BPA and leaching plastics
I’ve slowly replaced all of my plastic food storage containers with pyrex glass containers. While the lids are still plastic, they are BPA free. I do my best not to heat the lids if I can (heating causes leaching of chemicals). But sometimes, in a hurry I’ll use the lid as a cover in the microwave. If I do, then I make sure the lid doesn’t come in contact with the food.
A paper towel on top is a better choice to reheat in the microwave covered.
I immediately throw away receipts after grocery shopping. Maybe I’ll check my savings tally real quick on the bottom (I can’t resist) and then throw it out. But I try not to touch the receipt too much. If your store has an option for no receipt or online/paperless, do it!
Growing up, my parents always used Cling Wrap. So easily wrapping something up by smushing some sticky plastic around it was something I was very used to. Now, I buy BPA free plastic wrap if I have to cover leftovers. Several of my pyrex storage containers don’t fit snug anymore from warping. This was an inexpensive way to make sure my food was wrapped air tight. I do my best to not have the plastic wrap come in direct contact with food by putting it over the edges of casserole dishes and not the food itself. However, if I do need to wrap food directly, I make sure the food has completely cooled first.
A plastic free kitchen next?
I hope to one day to have very little plastic in the kitchen. I’ve definitely made progress in the past few years. Once upon a time I only used plastic containers to store and microwave everything. Ew.
Luckily for us, many new startups are paving the way to easier clean living by producing BPA free (many are completely toxic free) products entirely of safe materials.