Happy New Year! I wanted to start the New Year with going back to basics on forms of chemical exposure. I’m starting with BPA because after so many years it still receives so much media attention. Did you know that researching BPA was one of my reasons for starting Mommy Footprint 4 years ago? I had four children under the age of five and our world revolved around sippy cups, lunch containers and cooking utensils. The hype back at this time was water & baby bottles and discovering they contained BPA. Some countries like Canada banned the use of BPA in baby products, but have done little to ban it from other sources, aluminum cans for example. If you want to think about BPA in the most simple of ways and then brain dump the info (my favorite thing to do) so that you can move your focus onto the next class of chemicals to reduce from your life, do two things:
Do not purchase or use plastic to drink or eat from. It’s very simple…there so many great options on the market now: stainless steel and glass are the best in my opinion because they are dishwasher safe and besides from small amounts of nickel that leach from stainless steel, they are stable materials to reuse. With kids think stainless steel because if dropped on the floor it bounces rather than glass that will of course break. Everywhere I go, I still see toddlers drinking from plastic sippy cups. The argument from parents would be that these cups were marketed as BPA-free. I don’t trust it because I’ve read reports that products have been tested that are sold as BPA-free and still contained BPA! You are also never supposed to dishwash plastic because the high temperatures will break down the plastic composite and busy parents love the convenience of dishwashing. At the bottom of this article, I will link to my articles about using melamine dishware, Tupperware products and why I don’t use them. I also don’t use food grade silicone in my kitchen – the research isn’t there for me yet that this material is stable enough to handle freezing and hot temperatures. And yes, I’m making this longer than it needs to be….if you want to avoid BPA – don’t drink or eat from plastic. (Tips on doing this are listed at the bottom of the article)
The 2nd way to avoid BPA – don’t drink or eat from cans. Could it really be this simple? Well it’s really not if you think about all the different purposes we use cans such as pop, tomato sauce, beans, convenience alphagettis, canned soup, aluminum water bottles, etc. Aluminum is toxic to humans so all cans need to be lined with a material to separate the liquid or food from touching the can – this is where BPA enters our food system. All cans are lined with an epoxy liner that contains BPA which is why levels of BPA are high in teenagers. Think about all the coke, convenience food they eat. So before you cook or drink out of that can ask yourself two questions: ” can I make this from scratch rather than using a can?” (tomato sauce, soup, etc.) and “is there an alternative to how this food or drink is packaged?” (tomato sauce packaged in glass bottles, beer in glass, etc.) Science has recently suggested that BPA is linked to diabetes. What if our love for canned beer and coke have helped increase rates of diabetes? So not just the sugary liquid is hurting our health by the way it’s packaged!!
Why do we need to avoid BPA? Even low dose exposure has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and because of the estrogen-like properties of BPA it’s also linked to breast & prostate cancer, early puberty, behavior problems, and reproduction issues. Exposure to BPA doesn’t seem to just effect you while in the moment, unfortunately it’s a chemical that is found in our fetuses so the real cause for concern is how it effect babies with such small systems to process and flush a chemical such as BPA. So for many people if you have older children this might need be the chemical at the top of the list to focus on for 2012 and how to reduce it. A chemical to be aware of for sure – but when stacked up to lead exposure, flame retardants, and PFC (non-stick)..there are definitely more toxic chemicals that exist with human health. With flame retardants being referred to as the asbestos of our generation…I feel like the education for the general public needs to advance away from BPA. Yes it’s a toxic chemical that effects human health but adults flush this chemical quite quickly from our systems. And this is why I write this article to start 2012. I see BPA mis-quoted all the time in social media when trying to avoid chemical exposure. In writing this article, if you are eliminating the two steps listed above with plastic contact to food/water and canned food you are eliminating much of your contamination from BPA. With the chemical being produced in the billions of tons each year, it’s already in our water system so exposure cannot be totally eliminated. But here at Mommy Footprint we like to control our own destiny, so this is my recommendation for those concerns with this chemical. Ditching water system jugs that are coded a 7, not reading newspapers and switching to receiving your news online (BPA is in newspaper print) and not taking printed receipts (receipt paper contains BPA) will also help you, but there are not as easy to eliminate as step 1 and 2 outlined above.
Here are more article and all of the articles I’ve written over the years on BPA can be found in this category: BPA Plastics
Below are some great reads to get your caught up on food and liquid preparation without BPA. Want to get caught up in the world of BPA exposure – these articles should do it!
BPA in Dental Sealant? http://mommyfootprint.com/holistic-dentistry-mercury/
BPA Alternative with Ice Cube Trays: http://mommyfootprint.com/mommy-footprint-chemical-free-ice-cubes/
Finding Food in Glass Jars: http://mommyfootprint.com/finding-food-in-glass-jars/
Plastic & Melamine: http://mommyfootprint.com/pssst-plastic-melamine-can-we-talk/
Tupperware & BPA: http://mommyfootprint.com/tupperware-bpa-2-years-later/
Alternatives To Freezing Food in Plastic: http://mommyfootprint.com/alternatives-to-freezing-food-in-plastic/