Bisphenol A (BPA) is a xenoestrogen, meaning “foreign estrogen”. This is a chemical exhibiting estrogen-like properties, and can affect your body likewise.
BPA has been tested as an artificial estrogen as early as the 1930s. Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a similar compound, was used as a synthetic estrogen drug in women and animals until it was banned in the 1970s, due to its carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties.
Where is BPA found?
Common products that may contain BPA include:
- Items packaged in plastic containers (water bottle, take-out containers)
- Canned foods
- Feminine hygiene products
- Receipts (printed on thermal paper)
- CDs and DVDs
- Household electronics
- Eyeglass lenses
- Sports equipment
- Dental filling sealants
High temperatures cause the release, or “leaching” of BPA in situations such as leaving a water bottle in a hot car, or microwaving a take-out container.
Why can’t I just choose BPA-free alternatives?
“BPA-free” just is not enough anymore.
Industry has tweaked the molecule, in many instances, to create BPS or BPF, which could be as bad as or even worse than the original villain.
Because BPA substitutes such as BPS and BPF have such similar structures to BPA, they appear to have similar metabolism, potencies, and action to BPA. In addition, they may pose similar potential health hazards as BPA.
Why should I be concerned?
In a recent study, researchers analyzed information from more than 1,800 U.S. children and teens ages 6 to 19 years old who participated in a national health survey from 2013 to 2016. As part of that survey, participants underwent a physical exam and gave urine samples.
The researchers examined levels of BPA, BPS and BPF in participants’ urine samples.
Overall, 97% of participants had detectable levels of BPA in their urine samples; 88% had detectable levels of BPS; and 55% had detectable levels of BPF.
Research on the health effects of BPF and BPS is still in its early stages — just because a chemical has the ability to behave a certain way in the body doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dangerous. However, these chemicals have not been researched enough to know what its long-term effects are, and we are much more familiar about the long-term harmful effects of BPA.
Researchers say based on what we do know, the average consumer has reason to be a little concerned. BPA has been shown to cause problems with human reproduction, metabolism, neurological function and a host of other problems.
How can I avoid BPA and it’s alternatives?
- Avoid handling receipt paper
- Don’t microwave food in plastic containers
- Never drink out of a water bottle that has been exposed to heat
- The best BPA-free alternatives are non-plastics. Consider packaging your food in glass tupperware and using porcelain or stainless steel when possible.
- Question the ingredients of your plastics, especially when you see “BPA-free” written
What if the damage has been done?
Do not fear. This can be reversed.
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