Many of you probably have heard about BPA and its potential harmful effects on humans. If BPA is so bad for you, why did it take the FDA 80 years to say something? WTF?
BPA, or Bisphenol A, is an organic compound, a chemical that is used in many food packages, such as the lining of cans, baby bottles, and water bottles. It’s used because it’s lightweight, durable, and versatile. But BPA has been suspected of being bad for humans starting in the 1930s. Since it mimics the body’s hormones, research over the decades have found correlations between exposure and negative health effects, from infant brain development, obesity, cancer, sexual dysfunction…and also bad for the ecology. In Japan, industry VOLUNTARILY (strange concept, eh?) removed BPA lining 10 years ago.
Prior to January 10, 2010, the FDA assured the public that there was no risk to human. In On January 10, 2010, the FDA announced:
“on the basis of results from recent studies using novel approaches to test for subtle effects, both the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health and FDA have some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.”
SOME concern? Yikes! Even if you don’t care about the environment, maybe you care about pregnant moms and babies? OK, maybe you don’t care about babies, how about getting fat? OK, how about messing up your sex lives?
What can you do?
- Educate yourself about what companies are doing to ensure your foodstuffs are BPA-free.
Stay up to date with sites like the Bisphenol A Free with news, product reviews, and downloadable guides to protect you and your family. Whole Foods has been blogging about their efforts to ensure transparency. Bloggers like ZRecs review baby-safe, BPA-free prodcuts.
- Stay away from #7 plastics (look at the bottom), including food containers and water bottles (buying bottled water is another issue for another time).
A couple years ago, I started hearing about this, recycled any plastic bottles, and switched to SIGG bottles. I spent a nice little chunk of change for my pretty little bottle and even bought Cake Mountain Man his own.
Then last year, reports came out that the original SIGG bottles weren’t safe. Now they have come out with BPA-free bottles and I’ve heard they even replace your old ones. I admit, though, mine now sits in the back of my shelf because I bought it before 2008.
- Find out which companies are or going BPA-free. Use glass jars rather than plastic or canned, especially for tomatoes.
ZomppaPatty uses the Lucini brand and has a great recipe for pizza sauce here. My parents always told me to avoid canned tomatoes, but they never had an explanation other than it’s “bad for you.” Guess they may have been on to something. The high acidity of tomatoes can lead to greater leaching of BPA. Glass tomatoes are hard to find, but if I can’t use fresh or frozen tomatoes (ones that I do), I use bionaturae. Yes, it’s more expensive, but I figure I might as well spend a bit more now than pay thousands of dollars in medical care later on.
- Don’t microwave plastic containers.
I recycled all my plastic containers and use Pyrex to cook, freeze, heat my food. Yes, they’re heavier than plastic, but they don’t get that funky smell or that discoloration.
- Carry your own utensils – especially for infants.
I carry around these fabulous collapsible bamboo chopsticks. Granted, I don’t always use them, but they fit in my little bag (I don’t carry a purse, so yes, they’re small).
Are the studies conclusive on BPA? No. But now the FDA is serious about investigating it. In the meantime, stay aware and the results? TBA.