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BPA- Another Toxin in Our Foodchain

July 28, 2010

BisPhenol A or BPA is a controversial organic molecule which is extensively being used in our day to day life in a variety of products and many studies including recent FDA report has shown safety and health concerns. BPA has been in use since 1936, when it was used as synthetic hormone, but now it’s extensively used for making transparent plastic products such as baby bottles, water bottles, dental fillings, lining inside the canned food containers etc. BPA is used as a building block in many of these plastics and linings, which can decompose under certain temperatures or in presence of acids and thus can leech in to the food and enter your food cycle. Even though BPA is not much of hazard in the environment, but when inside the body it can be very harmful, especially to babies, due to it’s hormones mimicking properties. It can cause developmental problems in babies, neurological disorders, reproductive disorders, cancer related risks, diabetes and heart related disorders. There is lot of debate going on about the use of BPA and how to regulate it. Current regulations states that low doses of BPA is not toxic and of course much of the scientific studies backed by the industry says the same. But independent scientific studies reveal opposite results and number of these results have been growing. Recent study showed that even the receipts from grocery stores, ATM machines contain BPA and which can be retained on the skin or even can get absorbed in the skin and can have potential negative health effects. So try not to let these receipts interact with the open food items in your grocery bag and ofcourse wash your hands!

While, more research needs to be done as well as alternatives need to be found out for replacing BPA from our food cycle, we can take our own measures to safeguard ourselves and our loved ones. Since kids and babies are most affected, we should give more attention to what baby products we are using. Look out for BPA free products in ToysRus  and other places including toys, baby bottles, baby formula containers etc. But again, BPA free products might be just a marketing gimmick by the companies as well, so be cautious. For grownups, reduce canned food diets which is not that healthy anyway and that can reduce your exposure to BPA as well.  Here are some of the recommendations from NIH/CDC regarding preventing exposure to BPA:

• Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from repeated use at high temperatures.
• Avoid plastic containers with the #7 on the bottom
• Don’t wash polycarbonate plastic containers in the dishwasher with harsh detergents.
• Reduce your use of canned foods. Eat fresh or frozen foods.
• When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
• Use infant formula bottles that are BPA free and look for toys that are labeled BPA-free.

Since, I am not an expert on BPA nor have read many detailed peer-reviewed research articles, it’s suggested that people who are concerned about this, should read more reports and make their own decisions about how to reduce BPA intake. I will provide here few of the links which can help.

  1. FDA report on BPA in Food
  2. Environmental Working group: Detailed report
  3. Environment Califronia
  4. BiPhenolA Wikipedia
  5. NIH/CDC BPA Factsheet
  6. BPA in store Receipts

Picture credit: Flickr user gozalewis | Used under Creative Commons License

Filed under: Children,Environment,Research

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