What is BPA? 6 Ways to Ditch It for Good

open can of tomato soup with spoon in itIn 2012, the FDA announced a nation-wide ban on BPA in bottles and sippy cups. The following year, California placed the chemical on its Proposition 65 list, officially recognizing it as a reproductive hazard.

So what is BPA? Simply put, it’s a chemical used to harden plastics, especially polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

Despite federal and statewide action, our kids are still being exposed to BPA on a daily basis. The substance is still found in hard plastics, food-can linings and cash register receipts. In that year alone, studies linked BPA to:

1. Obesity: White children with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were six times more likely to be obese.

2. Anxiety: Exposure to BPA early in life resulted in high levels of anxiety in children.

3.  Reproductive problems: BPA exposure can damage a woman’s reproductive system causing infertility, miscarriages and birth defects. 

What is BPA? In 2013, the UN and WHO called the hormone-disrupting chemical a “global threat.”

4. Thyroid problems: Pregnant women exposed to high levels of BPA gave birth to baby boys with lower thyroid hormones.

5. Cancer: Scientists found a link between a common brain tumor called meningloma and BPA.

In 2013, the UN and WHO called hormone-disrupting chemicals like BPA a “global threat;” shortly thereafter the California EPA office announced that BPA will be added to the Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause reproductive toxicity.

As parents, why should we be worried about these chemicals? Well, first off, as this new study proves, they’re everywhere—even on receipts and money, ubiquitous to daily life. Our kids are exposed to them through multiple sources practically 24/7. Here’s what you can do to reduce their exposure:

  1. On the go, drink water from a stainless steel bottle, not plastic.
  2. Reduce the amount of canned food your family eats, and when you do, make sure it’s BPA-free.
  3. Wash your hands when you come home to reduce the amount of toxic substances like BPA that you ingest from hand-to-mouth exposure.
  4. Try to use credit cards instead of cash, and in the same way you might politely decline a plastic bag, just ask the cashier to throw away your register receipt.
  5. Don’t microwave meals in plastic containers or wraps; store food in glass or dishware, especially if it’s warm—BPA leaches out 55 times faster when it’s warm than when cold.
  6. Eat more fresh food! According to the Breast Cancer Fund, just three days of eating food not canned or packaged in plastic can reduce your BPA levels by 60 percent.

Just learning more is a great first step!

Photo: Rodale

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