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| How Can I Avoid BPA?
Plastic containers may be deadly for your brain (Getty Images)
Resources to Help Parents Navigate Potentially Dangerous Baby Products
A dozen of the leading environmental groups in the country have published the results of a study which says the vast majority of plastic baby bottles might pose a significant health risk, because they contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical linked to obesity, cancer and other conditions in animal experiments.
Read more about BPA and other potentially dangerous chemicals here.
The 20-page study, "Baby's Toxic Bottle," came from the University of Missouri, with funding from environmental groups. Today, many of those groups demand that manufacturers stop using BPA in baby bottles and other food containers.
But critics argue that the study has not been peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that food coming in contact with the chemical is safe, even in baby feeding bottles.
Though the study is still controversial, recent toy and food recalls have left many Americans on edge. Parents looking to steer clear of plastic-free baby bottles may want to consult resources that help them avoid the potentially dangerous chemicals.
Some say the jury is still out on the risk of BPA.
The jury is still out on whether there's a health risk from bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that leaches from plastic baby bottles, food/beverage cans, and many other products.
Industry uses more than 6 billion pounds of BPA every year to make the resins that line food cans and the polycarbonate plastics used to make baby bottles and many, many other products. The CDC says that 95% of us carry measurable amounts of BPA in our blood.
Some scientists say there's reason to worry. They note that BPA acts like the sex hormone estrogen -- indeed, BPA was originally developed as a chemical estrogen. These researchers worry that BPA is behind hormone-linked trends in human health such as increased abnormal penis development in males, earlier sexual development in females, increases in neurodevelopmental diseases such as ADHD and autism, increased child obesity, decreased sperm count, and more breast and prostate cancers.
BPA (bisphenol-A) is a potentially toxic estrogen-mimicking compound used in plastic production that has been linked to breast cancer, early puberty, infertility, and other maladies. It's dangerous enough that it has been banned in baby bottles in Europe, Canada, and even China--but not in the U.S. And it turns out that it's almost entirely unavoidable. It's in water bottles, store receipts, soup cans, and plastic-packaged foods, and many more products we encounter on a daily basis, according to a study from the Breast Cancer Fund and the Silent Spring Institute. The study, Food Packaging and Bisphenol A and Bis(2-Ethyhexyl) Phthalate Exposure: Findings from a Dietary Intervention, suggests that the best solution is subsisting on a fresh-food diet, which could cut down on BPA exposure by at least 60%. Here's what you need to do in your daily life to mimic the study's results--and how much of a hassle it may be.
- Drink tap water or rely on BPA-free stainless steel water bottles (from companies like Nalgene or Sigg) instead of slugging down bottled water. Difficulty Rating: Easy
- Instead of eating microwavable meals that come out of plastic containers, eat only freshly-prepared, organic foods. Difficulty Rating: Moderate (or hard, depending on where you live, the size of your bank account, and how lazy you are).
- Instead of using plastic utensils, rely on the longer-lasting variety. Difficulty Rating: Easy
- To be safe, avoid all canned foods and replace with non-canned variations (replace canned soup with soup in a carton, for example) unless cans denote that they have a BPA-free lining. If that's not possible, avoid these specific canned foods, which are known to be high in BPA: coconut milk, soup, meat, vegetables, meals, juice, fish, beans, meal-replacement drinks, and fruit (yes, we realize that encompasses most canned foods). Take special care to avoid foods that are acidic, salty, or fatty. Difficulty Rating: Hard
- Steer clear of plastic storage containers for leftover food. Instead, use glass containers along with BPA-free plastic lids. The food should not touch the lids. Difficulty Rating: Easy
- Instead of using a plastic coffee-maker or going out for coffee, use a French press or ceramic drip. Difficulty Rating: Moderate (if you like to drink your coffee during the workday)
Even if you follow all of these steps, BPA will
inevitably linger in your body; traces of it are
found in extremely unlikely places, such as whole
eggs and milk (due to pre-market processing).