You might have heard that you should be looking for BPA-free products, but what does that mean? Read on to learn more about the dangers of BPA and benefits of being BPA-free.
What is BPA?
BPA stands for bisphenol A, a chemical that has been used since the 1960s to make certain plastics and resins. An estrogen-like compound, BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics that are used in food and beverage containers such as baby bottles, water bottles, cups, toys and other products. Epoxy resins made with BPA are often used to coat the inside of metal containers such as food cans, baby formula canisters, bottle tops and even water supply lines.
What's the problem?
Some studies have shown that BPA seeps into food and beverages, and even into your skin when you handle products created with BPA. Many plastic manufacturers often contend that BPA poses no health risks, but the National Toxicology Program at the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and other organizations have concerns.
Some research has shown BPA can cause brain development problems in fetuses, infants and children, as well as increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and many other health issues. In September 2010, Canada became the first nation to declare BPA as a toxic substance.
What are the benefits of being BPA-free?
Nowadays you can find baby bottles and other goods made with BPA-free plastics. The primary benefit of BPA-free products is that they are non-toxic for you, your children and loved ones. They are also dishwasher and microwave safe.
In addition to seeking out new BPA-free products to minimize your BPA exposure, you should take inventory of the plastic containers, bottles, cups and dishes in your cupboards. Those that are scratched or cracked should no longer be used for food. Instead, use them to store office supplies or other items (or get rid of them).
Check the resin or recycle code on the bottom of the containers. The safest plastic containers are numbers 2, 4 and 5, while resin codes 3, 6 and 7 shouldn't be used for food. Purchase glass or porcelain containers for storing and reheating food. You don't have to buy new -- you can find bargains at local thrift stores and garage sales. Also, don't use plastic wrap, especially when reheating food. Use cloth napkins or recycled paper towels to cover dishes when reheating in the microwave instead.
Cut back on canned foods. Fresh foods are healthier alternatives and many food cans are lined with BPA-containing resin. Therefore, you should cut back or eliminate canned foods. However, be sure to store your fresh food using BPA-free means or else you will negate your proactiveness.
Switch over to stainless steel, BPA-free water bottles, like those from Klean Kanteen. These water bottles are totally free of BPA and safe for you and your family. Even if the degree of harmfulness of items containing BPA isn't completed understood, it's better safe than sorry when it comes to limiting this chemical's presence in your household.
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