Why Plastics are Dangerous: Understanding BPA

What is it?

Bisphenol A is a hormone disruptor. Hormone disruptors interfere with the normal functioning of the hormone system of people & wildlife to produce a wide range of adverse effects. These effects include problems with reproductive systems, developmental, & disabilities related to healthy behaviors.

Why is it harmful exactly?

Even low doses of BPA have been linked in studies to have very negative effects on our systems…

In men: increasing prostate weight, making prostate cells more sensitive to hormones & cancer, lowering testosterone, causing hyperactivity & permanent changes in the genital tract.

In women: making breast cells predisposed to cancer, reducing fertility, &
In pregnant women: studies have shown increased risks of cancers and developmental disruptions to the fetus, BPA may also contribute to behavioral problems such as hyperactivity in the unborn child.

Infants, children near puberty are the most at risk to develop harmful effects from BPA. Fetuses are especially sensitive to BPA as they have the most immature detoxification system.

How do get BPA in our system?

BPA is in most polycarbonate plastic food & beverage containers, plastic food wrap, & epoxy resins used to line metal cans for food (including formula).

Recently, the U.S. court has ruled NOT to make BPA illegal, however many companies have responded by choosing to remove BPA from their packaging. Read labels & recycling codes & show consumer support by choosing products that do not contain BPA.Most plastics with the recycling code #7 contain BPA. The simpliest way many people get it in their bodies is from drinking water from a plastic disposable water bottle.

Additionally, most food is packaged in plastic, but it is the liquid that poses the most problems (and especially frozen liquids & even solids).

I was once told in a retail store, when inquiring about BPA free plastics, that BPA only leaches out of plastic when it is heated in the microwave. I also found articles online relating this. This is NOT true. Chemicals such as BPA leach more in the microwave, but they do still significantly leach into drinks or food when at room-temperature, refrigerated, or frozen, especially when we re-use plastic which breaks it down further.

Simple Avoidance in our Diets

We should all make steps to avoid BPA in our diets to protect ourselves, but because of the high risk groups, pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants, & children should be especially mindful to avoid it. If using plastic, do not put it in the microwave as it will break it down & leach the BPA or other chemicals into the food sooner. Avoid drinking soda or juice from cans. Avoid eating vegetables, fruits, & soups from cans. Instead, eat food that is packaged in glass jars, frozen, or fresh. Use a refillable stainless steel water bottle. All of these avoidance steps will not only protect your health but will help you save money.

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