Bisphenol-A (BPA) is the building block of polycarbonate plastic, a hard plastic used to make numerous products, including reusable water bottles, compact discs, beverage containers, auto parts, toys and eyeglasses. It used to be used in most baby bottles, but with significant pressure from moms, manufacturers switched to safer plastics for baby and kid products. Bisphenol-A is also used in epoxy resins, in the plastic lining of some food cans, in some dental sealants, in thermal paper manufacturing and as an additive in other consumer products.
How can BPA exposure potentially impact you and your kids’ health?
Once BPA is in our bodies, it imitates our hormones, such as estrogen. Studies have shown that even low-level exposure can lead to reproductive harm, including poor sperm count, early puberty, increased risk of cancer, depression in teenage girls, and obesity. A report from The President’s Cancer Panel in 2010 identified more than 130 studies that have linked BPA to breast cancer, obesity, and other health disorders.
Follow these easy steps to avoid the most common exposures to BPA:
- Ban canned food and beverages from your pantry. Our most significant exposure to BPA is currently from eating canned foods and drinking canned beverages, so look for fresh, frozen, or dried options of your favorite canned goods. Or, look for products in glass jars, tetra paks, or cans that are labeled “BPA-Free.”
- Ask your dentist to use BPA-free sealants (especially on children).
- Avoid plastics marked “PC” or with a #7 in the chasing arrows recycling code typically found on the bottom of the product. This category is a catchall category for “other” plastics, so the #7 won’t always indicate polycarbonate (though the “PC” is a definitive indication). Call the manufacturer if you have questions.
- Decline thermal receipts or wash your hands after handling them.