Thursday, July 8, 2010

Get BPA out of your diet!

It really is frustrating, to me at least, how many things contain bisphenol-A (BPA). I am happy that they have removed it from a lot of kids' products (bottles, sippies, and eatery) but it is still found in many suprising places. Did you know that soda/aluminum cans and canned goods are lined with a plastic coating containing BPA? It was found in 96% of cans tested. Bottle fed babies have the highest levels of BPA, due to the fact that infant formula cans are coated in BPA, and those fed liquid formula receive the highest doses of BPA -- up to 13 micrograms per kg of bodyweight a day. Combine this with a bottle containing BPA and those babies are getting a double whammy -- although most manufacturers have voluntarily removed it from their products due to the upcoming ban. Those pretty, polycarbonate bottles (the old Nalgene ones before they came out with the new ones), advertised as being shatterproof, contain BPA.

The levels can be surprisingly high, especially when one takes into consideration the amount of different products containing BPA. Once we discovered this, we banned canned goods in our house (this was approximately 2 years ago when we got rid of probably $50 worth of canned goods). For us it is simply not the risk. BPA is an endocrine disrupter, which is particularly alarming in children, whose bodies are still developing. Endocrine disruptors can mimic natural hormones (estrogen) in the body and it may lead to early puberty. Other things are still unknown, but BPA could be linked to cancer -- a 2010 study concluded that the risk may be increased with BPA exposure. There have also been concerns on its effect on brain development. It's not a chance I am willing to take simply for convenience. Besides, we like making homemade food because it tastes better (our circa 1984 microwave that came in the house has barely been used and we only really keep it for the clock!). Dental sealants are another source of BPA, which is why we will not use them on our children (too late for me; I had them put on my molars as a child).

BPA accumulates in the body so it's not something that is just excreted out of the body. A study released in January of 2009 showed that BPA accumulates in the body and that most exposure comes from food. BPA accumulates in fat cells. A 2008 study showed that those who had higher levels of BPA in the urine had more medical disorders than those who had lower levels.

So what can you do? I can't tell you what to do, but I will tell you what my family does.
  • Don't buy canned goods. Frozen vegetables are a great (and cheaper) alternative. You can also buy fresh vegetables when in season. Or, better yet, grow your own! Other canned goods (premade meals in cans) aren't healthy for you anyway and are chocked with sodium and transfats.
  • If you're going to drink soda (or pop, as we call it here), don't buy it in the cans. The plastic is safer in this case (it is not a BPA plastic). Better yet, drink water to get your daily fluid intake!
  • Speaking of water, use stainless steel or BPA-free drinking bottles. I like the SubZero Stainless Steel ones. They are very affordable and come in many different colors. Also, when you're done with it, it's 100% recycleable! Polypropylene is another safe plastic and will usually be labeled with a "5" on the bottom of the bottle (translucent not transparent).
  • If you are bottle feeding your baby, use BPA-free products or trusty, reliable glass bottles.
  • Don't use sealants on your kids' teeth, and instead practice good oral hygiene like brushing twice a day and flossing before bed.
  • Use Pyrex for storing and heating food. Anchor is another brand, and it's slightly less pricey than Pyrex.
  • Do not use plastic/cling wrap (yep, this also contains BPA).
  • Avoid paper towels made from recycled matter (may contain BPA).
  • Pay attention to the numbers on the bottom of plastic containers. Assume everything with a "7" probably contains BPA.


Anna said...

wow sarah, thanks for all the good tips. My mom and aunt are really big into this kind of stuff and it has definitely affected how I buy things for our family.

Birdee said...

Thank you - THANK YOU so much for this! I love your info.

Now, if peppermint patties contained BPA, I'd be screwed! (as I eat my 25th one today)

Sarah R said...

No problem! I love sharing what I know because I found these things out the same way you did and it was quite the shocker!

Rachel said...

This is excellent! I'd love to post a link to this on my blog with some quotes, is that ok?

Sarah R said...

No problem, Rachel!