Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical used in the production of various plastic products. BPA is therefore found in almost every manufactured products that comes in plastic, like milk and water bottles, plastic food containers, plastic toys, plastic baby bottles, etc. BPA is also found in the epoxy resin that coats the interior of food and beverage cans.
BPA is not a newly discovered substance; it has been around since the 1950’s. In fact, the United States consumed 856 000 tons of BPA containing products in 2003 alone. Even though the plastic industry uses this argument to assess BPA safety, recent research shows that “he evidence for harmful health effects on humans from BPA exposure is incomplete, but is sufficient to suggest that limiting exposure is warranted.”
In fact, BPA could play a role in cancer development and affect the reproductive and developmental system. According to Health Canada, there is sufficient evidence to describe BPA as an endocrine disrupter.
While the estrogen-imitator effect of BPA is known since the 1930’s, so well before it’s wide commercial use, it’s only recently that we are more aware of the extent of the damage it can have on human health. By mimicking estrogen, BPA could create imbalanced hormone levels, could contribute to male feminization and be linked to some forms of cancer. Some studies even suggest that BPA could be linked to obesity, diabetes, neurological issues, thyroid receptor disruption, heart problems, fertility problems and DNA alteration.
In a 2004 study conducted by the CDC, 93% of US citizens have detectable amounts of BPA in their bodies. Statistic Canada data released in 2010 found similar results in Canadians, with 91% of them having detectable levels of BPA, and the same goes for a German study that found 93% of the German population had detectable levels of BPA.
Health Canada had long held that the chemical was not a risk to human health, but in October 2008, Canada became the first country in the world to ban baby bottles containing BPA. Meanwhile, the FDA had said that they don’t consider normal exposure to BPA as hazardous. However, they somewhat revised their position in 2008, releasing a report that concludes that children exposed to BPA may be at risk of early-onset puberty and prostate and breast cancer.
How to minimize your BPA exposure
Select BPA-free products
Avoid plastic identified as #1, #6 and #7
Do not microwave plastic containers
Avoid canned foods and beverages
Choose glass, ceramic or stainless steel containers
Use BPA-free baby and water bottles
Thoroughly wash your hands after handling money and cash receipts
Make conscious choices when it comes to plastic use around the house
Avoid washing plastic containers in the dishwasher or with harsh detergent