You may have noticed that BPA free is sprouting up on many products from toothbrushes to baby bottles. What is BPA exactly? BPA stands for Bisphenol-A an organic compound found in polycarbonate plastics. Polycarbonates are plastics that are mostly clear and shatterproof like those found in water bottles and food storage containers.

Over time BPA leaches into the food/drinks that they are filled with especially if introduced to high temperatures and/or acidic contents. So that half filled plastic water bottle you left in your car on that hot, sunny day probably has BPA in it. If you microwaved your leftover spaghetti in that plastic food container you are probably eating spaghetti sprinkled with some BPA.

So what’s the big deal? Well BPA is an endocrine disruptor. That means that it can mimic and interfere with the body’s ability to regulate hormones. BPA exposure in even low doses has been found not only to cause brain and hormone development problems but research (mostly on rats) has shown that it can promote breast cancer cell growth, decrease sperm count, and other sexual problems in men. It also contributes to heart disease, diabetes, and liver problems.  And there’s more.  If you want more in depth info check out the website for the book Our Stolen Future.

Here are some tips that I found on the environmental working group’s website

1. Try to avoid plastics. Glass is a good alternative to plastic food storage and baby bottles. I bought a set of glass food storage containers at costco for about $20 and they’re not very heavy. Stainless steel water bottles are a good alternative to plastic. Some are very expensive, but places like Marshall’s, Ross, and Homegoods sell them for $5-10. Just make sure it says 100% stainless steel because some metal bottles have a plastic coating which has BPA so that defeats the purpose right? I have also bought a 3 pack of stainless steel water bottles at costco for $15.

glass food storage & stainless steel water bottle

2. If you must use plastic avoid type 7 plastics or even better make sure it has the BPA free label. Avoid putting plastic containers in the microwave or dishwasher. The heat can cause BPA to seep into your food.

avoid type 7 plastics

3. Avoid canned foods especially with young children. The metal inside canned foods is coated with an epoxy that leaches BPA into the food. Studies have found high concentrations of BPA in canned soups, pasta, and meats.  Also baby formula that are in metal cans leach BPA into the milk.  So your best bet is to buy powder formula.

Fortunately because of the determination of environmental groups and concerned citizens, the FDA and Washington have started to pay attention.  Currently Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Wisconsin and Washington state have banned or at least restricted BPA.  SB797 a bill to ban BPA in California has passed the house but has yet to be decided by the Senate.  If you live in CA contact Senator Feinstein and/or Senator Boxer to express your concern and that you want them to  vote yes on SB797.  I have emailed Senator Feinstein before and she actually sent me a reply email!  Now that is what democracy is about!

There are some studies done that conclude that BPA is not as harmful as others have made it out to be.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be safe than sorry especially when it comes to children.

I hope you find this helpful!  If you have any other tips please share!