What is BPA?
There are many stories in the news about BPA and you may ask, “What is BPA”? BPA is a chemical found in plastics and is used in many of the products we use in food preparation, food storage and in beverage containers. It is often a component in the packaging of canned products including soups and vegetables. BPA is present plastic cups, food storage bags and plastic food wrap. It has been used in baby bottles and liquid baby formula packaging for many years. For 40 years BPA has been part of the plastic products we use every day.
What Are The Concerns With BPA?
There are several concerns with BPA. Studies have shown that there are negative effects of the chemical in laboratory animals. It is proven to be a toxic component of plastic. The major concerns with BPA are that the chemical can leach into food and remain there as a toxic substance that we ingest with our food. It cannot be easily eliminate from our bodies . They have not proven that BPA is harmful to children or adults, but the concerns with BPA being harmful is real and a serious concern. The government is now spending millions of dollars on research to substantiate the facts. This can be a serious concern with BPA to our health.
BPA in Baby Products
New regulations are mandating that BPA not be in baby bottles or in baby formula containers. The concern for parents is more wide spread than only baby bottles. BPA is in the plastic toys that our children play with and often put into their mouths. Children wear plastic jewelry and this jewelry can be put in children’s mouths, thus exposing them to toxins. It is possible that BPA is in your baby’s mattress. If there is a strong smell to any plastic that comes close to a baby, it should be discarded. The immature systems of babies can enable a cumulative effect of these chemicals in the cells of their body. The immune system in babies may not be able to break down chemicals. Therefore, we should be cautious in purchasing products for our children that may have BPA in them.
What We Should Know About BPA
While focusing on baby products is important, it is also necessary to educate ourselves about how BPA, used in our everyday lives can affect us with our use of these products as well. We need to know how any product with BPA can potentially leach the chemical into our food. BPA is in our everyday food preparation, cooking and storage.
1. Reading all of the labels is very important in preventing exposure to chemicals. Most products that do not have BPA will now be labeled “BPA Free”.
2. Presently you should purchase baby bottles made in the United States as the regulations are in force to stop the manufacturing of baby bottles with BPA in this country.
3. Discard any plastic product that has scratches or cracks as this can enable the BPA to leach into food.
4. Heat can enable the BPA to be released into food. Therefore it is important to read and understand the labels on plastic products. If it says it is “dishwasher safe”, it means that it is able to take the heat of the dishwasher without the harm of BPA contamination. If it is “microwave safe”, it is protected from the same in microwave use. By following the recommendations you are preventing unnecessary exposure to BPA.
5. If possible, change your food supply containers to ceramic, glass or stainless steel.
Containers Made with BPA For Food
We get some help with knowing if BPA is in our containers that we use when we look at the recycle numbers in the bottom of the products. Plastics with the recycle numbers of 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 do not contain BPA. Recycle number 7 may be made with BPA. The website HealthyChild.org has the list of plastics and explains exactly what is in each number that is used for recycling. It lists what each plastic exposure means to our bodies. They recommend changing to glass for storage and if using plastic, to cool the food before placing it in the plastic.
Can Microwaves Effect BPA in Plastics?
If you microwave with a plastic container that has BPA you may be exposing yourself to harm from the chemical. Use containers that are microwave safe. Do not use plastic wrap over foods in the microwave. The heat will melt the plastic and BPA may be in the product and exposing your food to contamination. Microwaving food in a glass container is safer.
What Are The Environmental Effects Of BPA?
Plastics do not disintegrate, they remain in our soil, our water and if incinerated they are in our air. There are so many plastics in our water presently and the fish are now ingesting bits of plastic. This may eventually prevent our ability to eat some fish.
The risk of BPA is strong enough to ensure we make changes in our lifestyle. The concern with BPA in baby products has promoted labeling and also restrictions on the use of the chemical.
You can see a review we did about Wexy Snack bags, a BPA free product on TheseAreGreat.com.