By Georgina Chong-You
Whether you are a parent or not, you’ve probably heard of the term ‘BPA’ when talking about water bottles or basically anything plastic. The term “BPA free,” has turned into a trending term when referring to baby bottles, toddler sippy cups or anything else of the sort. So what is BPA, and should we be paying closer attention to it?
First, let’s get a little scientific here and explain what the term BPA means. Bisphenol A (BPA), is a chemical that is added to many commercial products, including food containers and hygiene products. It is most often mixed with other compounds to produce strong and resilient plastics, a practice that has been going on since the 1950s, according to the Mayo Clinic. Now, should you be afraid because you read the word ‘chemical’ and ‘food’ in the same sentence? e Food and Health Administration (FDA) continues to make the claim that the chemical is “safe,” stating, “People are exposed to low levels of BPA because, like many packaging components, very small amounts of BPA may migrate from the food packaging into foods or beverages. Studies pursued by FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) have shown no effects of BPA from low-dose exposure.” However, researchers continue to say that BPA is something you should be strongly aware of and should limit your exposure to.
Once the news of BPA being in food containers, especially those of babies, hit the newsstands and people’s inboxes, more information became known about links between products containing BPA and cell dysfunction, asthma, infertility, heart disease, brain dysfunction and even more. is was the point where many people went into official panic mode. Plastic bottles were tossed aside and glass containers took their place; sippy cups were thrown away and replaced with stainless steel ones.
So are BPA-free products really safer for us? Well, research is always evolving, and the jury is still out on the overall long-term effects of continued exposure to BPA, and whether those effects are untreatable. Many experts claim it is harmful, while others disagree. Still, companies have offered alternatives in the form of BPA-free products. These products have been developed to keep us and our families safer.
How to limit your exposure to BPA
Use BPA-free products. Look for products labeled as BPA-free.
Cut back on cans. The lining of most cans contain BPA resin, so reduce your use of canned goods whenever possible.
Avoid heat. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, recommends not microwaving any plastic container or putting them in the dishwasher, because the plastic may break down over time and allow BPA to leak into foods.
Use alternatives. Instead of plastic containers, use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids.
Formula. Purchase powdered infant formula and not liquid ones in bottles as the BPA may leak into the liquid.