Being the knowledgeable and enlightened citizen that you are, you’ve likely ditched all those plastic bottles by now. For one, they are environmentally harmful. They are also cause for health concerns. But in case you haven't, here is another reason you should: BPA.
BPA, or Bisphenol A, is bad stuff. It causes everything from sexual dysfunction to cancer. Below I detail what it is, what it does and the best way to avoid it.
What is BPA
BPA is an additive used in plastics to make it harder. It is most commonly used in polycarbonate plastics with a #7 recycling mark and #3 plastics with PVC. BPA is one of the highest volume chemicals produced in the world, an $8 billion a year business.
BPA is everywhere, in baby bottles and water bottles, epoxy can linings, CD’s and DVD’s, thermal cash receipts, dental sealants, and eyeglass lenses too.
What BPA Does
BPA gets into your body by leaching, and microwaving and repeated washing accelerates this process. Scratches release BPA and also draw in bacteria. As these plastics lie for lengths of time in landfills (they can take up to 1,000 years to decompose), the chemicals leach into the ground and become part of our eco-system, finding its way into our rivers and estuaries.
Did you know BPA is an endocrine disruptor; it affects the brain, behavior, the reproductive system, and can cause sexual dysfunction and heart disease in adults. It is linked to diabetes, childhood obesity, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, early onset of puberty and many types of cancers: breast, ovarian, prostate and testicular.
Is BPA-Free Enough?
But if you’ve found “BPA-free” products, here’s something you may not know. Unfortunately, when a “BPA-free” bottle is sold, manufacturers do not disclose that the substitute chemicals used are just as, if not more dangerous. In March 2011, a study published by Environmental Health Perspectives, examined 455 baby bottles, water bottles, plastic food containers and wraps bought from major retailers. It was found that hormone-disrupting, estrogenically
active (EA) chemicals leached from ALL plastics, including those labeled “BPA-free”. In fact, researchers found in some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than BPA-containing products. The derivative BPA B is more potent in stimulating breast cancer cells and BPA F is more potent than BPA.
Go Plastic Free
What’s the answer to shaking BPA and EA’s from our life? Start living a plastic-free lifestyle:
- Use reusable glass or metal bottles and containers for drinking and eating
- Choose metal, wooden or ceramic eating utensils
- Carry your own water to avoid using single-use disposable plastic bottles
- Stay away from buying and using plastics. If you must, avoid heating, dishwashing, and microwaving plastics and plastic film. But remember, EA’s can still leach from plastics at room temperature
- Ask retailers and places you frequent to carry plastic alternatives. Change starts with action!