You can’t walk through a store these days without seeing at least a few items with that “BPA-Free” label plastered all over the packaging. But does that really mean the plastic used is safe? Healthy? Or even better?
BPA is a chemical used to make that clear hard plastic you may actually be carrying your lunch in right now. We also know that this chemical can leach out of plastic into our food and eventually into our bodies. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can mimic hormones in our body causing a variety of problems. Specifically, BPA is an estrogenically active compound and has been linked to birth defects, cancers and other health problems. Infants and children are especially vulnerable since their little bodies are less able to detoxify it from their systems. Exposure can even occur while in the womb since BPA can cross the placental and affect development.
So, I buy BPA-free, no problem, right?
Ever wonder what other kinds of chemicals being used to make plastic could be leaching out of even those BPA-free bottles and containers? Well, so did some researchers, and a study was conducted and published in July 2011 in the Environemental Health Perspectives (http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info:doi/10.1289/ehp.1003220). It took over 400 everyday products that were BPA-free and tested them for other estrogenic chemicals that could still be leaching out under normal stresses (heating, microwave, dishwasher, sunlight exposure, etc.).
What they found: “Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled—independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source—leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA (estrogenic activity), including those advertised as BPA free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than did BPA-containing products.”
When it comes to baby bottles, they found that at least one part of each baby bottle always had an estrogenic chemical that leached out. And the more stress it under went, the more it leached….how many times do baby bottles get heated, even in a week?
So, what to do? Switch to glass! There are many available products on the market at super reasonable prices. Over the last couple years, I have phased out all the plastic from our kitchen and replaced it with glass containers (ours of choice, Glasslock, available at Costco!). And when it came to baby bottles, we went with glass as well, we chose Life Factory (check out baby favies for more info). A good plastic free water bottle is a must, since it is refilled constantly, try a stainless steel bottle such as those from Kleen Kanteen or my new fave from Life Factory as well. The best part is, these glass or stainless steel products virtually never wear out and will last a life time. And you can rest assured there are no unwanted chemicals taking up residence in your meal. The reality is that in this day and age, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid plastics everywhere, but making an effort to use an alternative where you can, can make a huge impact on your health!
Disclaimer: Naturopathic Doctors strive to provide individualized health care. The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. This information shouldn’t take the place of seeing an ND for individualized health recommendations.