Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a hormone-disrupting chemical that lurks in food can linings, plastic food and beverage containers, and a slate of other consumer products. It has been linked with serious effects on human health such as:
• recurrent miscarriages in women
• neurological changes in children
• erectile dysfunction and hormonal changes in men.
Chemical industry lobbying has kept regulators from banning the use of BPA, but there is good news. A 2010 study found that BPA levels in five families dropped dramatically (by 60% on average) after just three days of not eating canned goods and food in plastic packaging.
Here are several more steps you can take to reduce your exposure to BPA:
• Avoid drinking out of plastic bottles. Use unlined stainless steel ones instead.
• Avoid canned foods and those that are sold in plastic containers.
• Buy products in glass or cardboard “brick-packaging” for a BPA-free alternative.
• Choose dried beans instead of canned ones, and stick with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. If you can’t avoid canned fruits, vegetables, or beans, rinse the contents well before serving.
• Store leftovers in glass containers instead of plastic ones.
• Never microwave* food in plastic containers or while covered in plastic wrap. Use glass or ceramic containers instead.
• Don’t take receipts or wash your hands after touching one. The thermal paper used by many retailers for receipts contains high concentrations of BPA.
• Check recycling numbers on plastics. Types 3 and 7 are likely to contain BPA, so avoid these.
For Parents with Young Children: Unfortunately, many BPA alternatives are still being tested for safety and it is difficult to determine what products are truly better. For developing brains and bodies, cut to the chase and avoid plastics altogether.
• If you feed your infant formula, choose the powdered version instead of the liquid kind.
• Use glass or stainless steel containers for bottles and sippy cups.
• Avoid plastic toys, especially items that will be put into mouths.
* LNH does not suggest the use of microwaves in any case.