Published on April 8th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan1
How to Avoid BPA
BPA is a great concern to many people these days, and for good reason. BPA is a hormone disruptor that can considerably harm one’s health. BPA has been linked to endocrine disruption in animals and in some human studies (see links on the bottom for more on that) and, as Jennifer Taggart of The Smart Mama writes:
Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an update on BPA in which it agreed with the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health that there is “some concern” about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and young children. Many scientists and researchers, however, are much less reserved when it comes to the safety of BPA, particularly for infants and fetuses, and urge complete avoidance of BPA in food and food contact items.
Many of us may be concerned about BPA but feel like we can’t keep it out of our systems due to its prevalence in the packaging of our food products. Well, a new peer-reviewed study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives tells us that we actually can avoid BPA to a considerable degree by avoiding canned foods and food packaged in plastic.
How to Avoid BPA
The takeaway message of the study is pretty clear — you can avoid BPA by:
- eating fresh, frozen, jarred, or dried food;
- eating food from BPA-free cans;
- not using storage containers made from polycarbonate plastic (again, jars are a great option);
- if you feel you must buy pre-made soup, milk, or soymilk, buying products that use cardboard “brick” carton or glass containers;
- if you buy cheese or other goods wrapped in plastic, removing them from the plastic and putting them in BPA-free containers/jars when you get home.
The good news for those who use a lot of cling wrap: a lot of these products have already been improved to not use PVC,… but not all of them. “PVC remains the most common in food wraps used in catering and other commercial applications,” Smart Mama Jennifer writes. “However, many of the leading plastic wraps used in the home have switched to a PVC-free wrap, including Saran Premium, Glad Cling Wrap and Handi Wrap. They are made of low density polyethylene.” (I still wonder about the safety of any plastics, but feel at least a little better when there’s no scientific evidence linking them to considerable health problems.)
Details on the BPA & Food Packaging Study
Here’s more from Jennifer on the study methodology for the study mentioned at the top and specific findings:
The study involved 5 families, with a total of 20 participants. In the study, over a 3 day period, the families ate food that was prepared and stored with minimal canned foods or plastic food packaging. During the three day period of minimal canned food and plastic packaging a caterer prepared and delivered food, avoiding foods packaged in plastic and canned foods. Urine samples were collected before (on days 1 and 2), during (on days 4 and 5), and after this “fresh food” diet. After the “fresh food” diet, the families returned to their normal diet, and urine samples were collected on days 7 and 8.
The urine samples were analyzed for BPA and 7 chemicals that assess for exposure to 5 different phthalates – DEHP (used in some food packaging), DEP, DBP, BBP and DMP.
The study results showed that while the families were eating the “fresh food” diet, their BPA levels dropped on average by more than 60%. For the three metabolites that were used to measured exposure to the phthalate DEHP, all 3 dropped by more than 50% during the “fresh food” diet. When the participants returned to their regular diets, BPA levels increased to approximately the pre-intervention levels.
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- NRDC Sues to Ban BPA
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- Hunting the Elusive BPA Free Canned Tomato
- Chemical Industry Shuts Down Proposed Law to Protect Kids from BPA
- Sperm Quantity and Quality Hit Hard by BPA