Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical known as an endocrine disruptor that mimic’s the effects of estrogen, was found in the bodies of 96 percent of all American women pregnant in 2011. Almost all packaged foods and beverages contain BPA in the package materials, be it a can, box, bag, or plastic container of any kind.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies found BPA in:
- The urine of 95 percent of American adults between 1988 and 1994.
- The urine of 93 percent of children age 6 and older and adults in 2003 and 2004.
According to a 2010 article in TIME Magazine, “if you don’t have BPA in your body, you’re not living in the modern world.”
In recent years, BPA made headlines as the infamous plastic in baby bottles and toddlers’ sippy cups. The US now limits BPA’s use for these products, but requires no regulation on products intended for the older child and adult markets. As the health risks of BPA exposure become further researched and documented, a growing list of nations in the developed world are banning some, if not all, use of the chemical in products containing foods and beverages.
BPA's effect on fertility, pregnancy and your baby
Because BPA mimics estrogen, a vital sex hormone created by male and female bodies alike, the chemical has profound effects on fertility, pregnancy, and the health of a baby.
- May reduce sperm production.
- May increase the risk of testicular cancer.
- Impairs adult male sexual function.
- Induces metabolic alterations during pregnancy and lactation that lead to excessive weight gain.
- Hormonal interference raises the risk of insulin resistance, which can cause type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
- May lead to defective development of the uterus and impair future fertility.
- Congenital masculinization, or the development of ambiguous genitalia.
- May affect a female child’s ability to produce healthy eggs.
- May shorten a female’s reproductive lifespan.
- Genetic defects that affect mitosis and DNA replication.
- Prenatal exposure may affect the adult child’s sexual behavior and differentiation.
How to minimize exposure to BPA
- Use glass water bottle(s) and ditch the single-use plastic bottles.
- Store your leftover food in glass containers instead of plastic.
- Don’t handle thermal receipt paper, it is often BPA-coated.
- Avoid plastics with recycle code #7 and those marked with “PC” for polycarbonate.
- As much as possible: buy foods/condiments in glass jars instead of plastic.
- Don’t eat canned foods. Even though canned goods are now saying, “BPA-free lining,” try to cut back on canned foods; it’s best if you can find foods canned in glass.
- Start cooking organic beans and legumes from scratch and forego canned beans and legumes altogether, if possible.
- If your water filter uses a plastic pitcher to contain the water, change the pitcher to glass. Do not let your water sit in the plastic pitcher.
- You should not use a microwave oven for food or drinks. NEVER cook/heat a “microwavable meal” in its plastic container.
- Do not reuse plastic food and beverage containers
- Avoid all food and beverage packages that bear the 3 or 7 recycle code
- Choose fresh instead of packaged foods
- Filter water to minimize BPA being leached from pipe insulation
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Source: Walsh, Bryan. “The Perils of Plastic.” TIME Magazine. Time Inc. Apr 1, 2010. Web. Dec 4, 2013.