Healthy Living-Our unhealthy love affair with plastic and BPA


BPAOh the joy of cooking and eating out of plastic. So easy, so simple, so much better than using dishes!! After all, we are saving water and precious time, right? Talk about convenience too!

True, true, true. But let’s cover some facts before you decide to enjoy more plastic contaminants in your next meal or beverage.                                                                                                       (What?)

It’s all about the BPA. BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. This controversial little gem in particular is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are everywhere. To name a few will give you a good idea to what I am discussing here; containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles, baby bottles and cups, toys and other consumer goods. Then there are the epoxy resins that can be used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, baby formula cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. Some dental sealants and composites also may contain BPA. And certain thermal paper products, such as cash register receipts, may contain BPA.

BPA is a difficult substance to nail down; it doesn’t behave like a typical toxin. While other chemicals labeled as toxic have clear-cut impacts (asbestos exposure leads to cancer, lead poisoning causes reduced mental capacity), BPA is sneakier. Rather than harm the body outright, BPA is an endocrine disruptor. It changes the way our body’s hormones function, mimicking our own natural hormones — in this case, estrogen. So what’s the big deal you say? Well, Estrogen is said to alter the behavior of more than 200 genes, which control the growth and repair of nearly every organ and tissue in the body. The smallest change is dramatic to the body. BPA also has been found to negatively affect the brain and nervous system in humans, particularly children. So what do we do about the plastic influenced world we live in? Here are some ideas that can help limit direct exposure to BPA toxins.

Take your food out of plastic and use glass or dishware when you use the microwave. Cover with a moist paper towel or wax paper.

Wash plastic by hand and do not use extreme hot heat. Also, if your plastics have scratches in them, degradation increases the likelihood of BPA leaching out.

Reduce the use of food products that are canned. Look for packaging in glass. There is zero BPA in glass. I know this is much easier to find in Europe, but not impossible elsewhere. Buy yourself a water bottle made of aluminum or stainless steel. Try to use this instead of plastic water bottles all the time.

For the extremist, move to Belgium, France, Austria or Denmark. BPA is banned in these countries.

Seek out BPA-free products. In general, look for and stay away from the No.3, 6 or 7 recycling symbols on the bottom or PC. Some are not BPA made, but heads up. The controversy on BPA is still in full swing. But I always say, “better safe than sorry”.

 

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