Smiling like Sunshine: How to avoid BPA?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

How to avoid BPA?

I think by now we all  know BPA is all around us. If however you still haven't heard of BPA, it stands for Bisphenol A, a chemical ingredient used in plactics.

  While the polymers BPA creates are strong, they easily release the substance, which can get into our bodies not only through contact with BPA-laden products themselves but also through food, dust, and air. Potential adverse effects—which can occur at very low levels of exposure—include disrupted genetic signaling and hormone activity that can lead to diabetes; obesity; impaired reproductive, developmental, neurological, immune, and cardiovascular system function; and certain cancers. Of particular concern are the effects of BPA on infants and children. BPA eventually does break down, but the chemical is in so many products that it is virtually ubiquitous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found BPA in more than 90 percent of the Americans it has tested. (source Weston Sustainability Committee)

While attention has focused on the use of BPA in baby bottles, its presence in canned food or packaged food is potentially even more troubling. Even the receipts that you handed at the end of a shopping contain BPA. Going BPA-free is definitely a challenge in these times.
Here are a few things that I do to keep my family BP-free.
  • Most of the food choices I make are for fresh  organic  foods. My problem is I buy them from the grocery store, so they are still packed. (This study shows  that vegetables and fruits packed in shrink wrap have highly levels of plastic compounds in their flesh.) The farmer's market in our town unfortunately does not sell ogranic food.
    • I cook beans from scratch, so easy to freeze extra. 
    • As for freezing, I freeze our food in glass containers.  
    • I switched to glass for food storage. If you have plastic ones, make sure they are not Polycarbonate. These plastic containers should be marked with a number 7 on the bottom or the letters "PC". Look for plastics labeled #1, #2 or #4 as these don't contain BPA.
      • I limit canned food consumption. (I only buy chopped tomatoes during winter because in the UK, tomatoes are generally imported, picked when raw and never taste as good as they should be)
      •  I avoid plastic toys where possible. I think this is really important as most babies go through a mouthing stage.
      • As for the teething toys (and if you are using soothers or dummies), look out for the BPA-free ones or better yet use natural rubber ones.
      This was not all good, I realise. However  Dr. Alan Greene talks about a study where it is argued that certain nutrients can counteract BPA.

      What do you do to avoid BPA?
        Further reading: