Saturday, September 25, 2010

What's the Big Deal About BPA?

We come into contact with hundreds of synthetic chemicals and toxins each day from second hand smoke to the cosmetics and fragrances we put on our bodies.  Most of us don't think twice about the fact that these chemicals are being stored in our bodies and can have potentially harmful long-term side effects. I know that it is hard to avoid exposure to every single chemical, but I do my best to control my level of exposure as much as possible by choosing the products I buy carefully.

Most people have heard of BPA, or Bisphenol-a, and know it's something to be wary of. Once BPA gets into your system, it can mimic hormones and can cause a lot of different problems from cancer to serious attention issues (ADHD). While there have been studies to evaluate the dangerous effects of BPA, the government has not made any action to remove this chemical.  And most people seem to follow the mantra, "what I don't know, (or see) can't hurt me." Everyday, I watch as co-workers microwave their lean cuisines with plastic liners, or leftovers in BPA laced plastic containers. Seemingly unaware that heating plastic with BPA in it allows the BPA to leach into your lunch.

So what can we do to avoid BPA as much as possible? Here's my list - please feel free to add!
  • Look at the number on your plastics. Avoid number 7. Plastics labeled wth the number 7 are FULL of BPA.
  • Use a stainless steel water bottle, like Klean Kanteen to avoid drinking out of plastic.
  • Use glass containers instead of plastic whenever possible and if you use baby bottles, try glass instead of plastic.
  • BPA is found in canned food linings. Buy fresh, frozen, dried or in a BPA free can whenever possible.
  • Don't heat or freeze plastic containers.
  • Avoid plastic/cling wrap.
  • Some reports have said BPA has been found in receipt paper. Don't take a receipt if you don't need one. (This is the hardest one for me).

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