BPA: Its Whats For Dinner

by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP:  To avoid chemical exposure, do not use plastic containers when reheating or storing leftovers.  Use a glass or ceramic container instead.

We live in a world where it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to stop and smell the roses.  And if you have children it’s an unbelievably complicated process to just make a nutritious meal let alone navigate the safety of immunizations, fluoride, toys without lead, clothing and bedding without chemicals, and play dates without high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats.  And that’s just before noon.

Recent news has made the process even more complicated as it becomes evident the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has failed us again.  It is increasingly clear bisphenol A (BPA) is a very dangerous chemical found in what amounts to an encyclopedia’s worth of products and the FDA has turned a blind eye to its dangers.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), as always, is right on top of the BPA issue.  A little background. 

According to EWG, BPA is a plastics chemical invented in 1891.  In the 1930’s scientists discovered that BPA is an artificial estrogen.  It is currently used to manufacture a wide range of products including baby bottles, water bottles and the epoxy lining of metal food cans and canned infant formula.  The problem arises because BPA leaches out of plastic and has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and liver problems. 

In addition, in September 2008 the National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health determined “current human exposure to BPA is of some concern for effects on development of the prostate gland and brain and for behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children”. 

Does it seem like the chemical companies are trying to poison us and the FDA doesn’t care?

Remember when our only concern with making a tuna fish salad sandwich was dolphin safety and acceptable amounts of mercury.  Those were the good old days.  Now we can add BPA exposure to that list.

What can we do? 

I am trying to phase out all plastics from our kitchen.  Using glass or ceramic containers for any microwaving is especially important because, according to University of Missouri-Columbia scientist, Frederick Vom Saal, plastics made with BPA break down easily when heated, microwaved, washed with strong detergents or wrapped around acidic foods like tomatoes. 

We use a Brita water filter at home and SIGG bottles for carrying water during workouts, to the park and on road trips. 

As far as canned foods are concerned, I have only found one company that doesn’t use BPA.  According to their website, Eden Organic Beans are packed in lead-free, tin-covered steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous c-enamel lining that does not contain BPA.  Oleoresin is a natural mixture of an oil and resin extracted from various plants such as pine or balsam fir. 

As always, let the buyer beware.  Tuna fish sandwich anyone?

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  1. Billy’s avatar

    I know the jury is out on BPA’s toxicity in humans (officially, that is) but I say better safe than sorry and purchase bpa free when I can.

    Recently I purchased Rubbermaid’s BPA-free containers for food and stuff (I think it might be HDPE). I’ve been keeping an eye on my consumption of canned foods. My wife and I both bought water bottles that are BPA free. We tried Sigg and it was ok…just super cold or hot depending on the temperature of the coffee, etc so we got a Titan water bottle and a camelbak bottle.

    Here’s more reading on BPA:

    http://www.squidoo.com/bisphenol-A

    Here’s a blog that is keeping track of the BPA scare…
    http://www.titanwaterbottle.com/blog

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