If you find something that says it's free of bisphenol A (BPA), that means it's safe, right? Well, it really depends on what it is made of. Since BPA has fallen out of favor, many companies are scrambling to produce BPA-free plastic items, but there's bad news: a popular BPA alternative, known as BPS, may be just as bad for you.
Once BPA fell out of favor, manufacturers searched to find an alternative that was just as sturdy, but lacked the sinister component that was getting the bad press. A similar chemical, known as BPS, started appearing in products that were labeled BPA free, but a recent study shows that it may not be any better for us than BPA.
The results outline a few potential problems this alternative chemical may have (the study looked at BPS and its effects on the cardiovascular system of rats). And this highlights an important fact: BPS has not been thoroughly tested for human safety. "Our findings call into question the safety of BPA-free products containing BPS," says the study's lead investigator, Hong-Sheng Wang, Ph.D., from the University of Cincinnati. "BPS and other BPA analogs need to be evaluated before further use by humans."
So, while the reusable, plastic water bottle you're eyeing at the store may proclaim that it's BPA free, you might reconsider tossing it into your shopping cart. We've been lulled into a false sense of security due to the massive media backlash against BPA, but just because something doesn't have it, definitely does not mean that it's totally safe for you.
Bisphenol A came into use decades ago as a chemical component in some plastics. Unfortunately, as useful as it was in manufacturing food and drink containers, it can seep into what we consume. It's suspected to have negative effects on our health and the health of our kids, and several countries around the world have banned its use in baby products.
It's difficult to avoid these chemicals altogether (in fact, one of the biggest offenders for BPA exposure is thermal-printed cash register receipts), but moving away from plastic food and beverage storage is a good start. Keep in mind that BPA can be found in the lining of metal cans, too.
You don't have to start fashioning your own storage containers out of grass, but the more knowledge you have when you shop, the better.
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