Last week I wrote about exactly what BPA is and the research showing it’s negative impacts on our health. This week, I’m giving you 6 ways to avoid it like the plague and get it out of your life!
Just a quick recap on BPA: it’s an industrial chemical used to make some plastics (like water bottles and some packaging) and in the lining of cans.
It’s found to be an endocrine disruptor and it acts like a hormone in the body, mimicking oestrogen.
It’s been linked to heart disease, reproductive problems, behavioural problems, diabetes and breast and prostate cancers.
I wish I could say to simply look out for the BPA-free label, but sadly that’s not enough.
‘BPA-Free’ is misleading and not enough
Although ‘BPA-Free’ might sound good, we should even more concerned with what they are replacing it with. Clearly the food industry isn’t concerned with what chemicals they are putting in our food supply, so we should always be skeptical of what they are up to.
Many products labelled ‘BPA-free’, although not all, actually have similar plasticizer chemicals that also disrupt hormones and the endocrine system. Research shows that BPA’s common replacement, bisphenol S (BPS) is just as harmful, and was found in a recent study to have a significantly higher absorption in skin compared to BPA. (1)
6 Ways to avoid BPA (and it’s Equally Unsafe Alternatives)
Plastics marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.
1. Don’t buy plastic water bottles
Water bottles are the worst offenders for BPA and other cheap plastics that leach chemicals into the water (and let’s not forget the waste that these create), but not to worry because this one is fairly easy to avoid. I use a stainless steel Contigo water bottle, whenever I go out I fill it up and take it just in case I get thirsty. Easy!
2. Avoid plastic packaging as much as possible
A great place to start is by using less plastic. Sometimes this can be hard to do, but it gets easier with time. Put thought into every purchase you make; the packaging, the quality, how much you will really use it (or if it will just end up in the trash soon).
Moving away from buying your food at the supermarket to buying more from the farmers markets is a great way to avoid excess packaging and avoid the temptation to go for seemingly easier options like canned food.
I love that many of the stall owners at the farmers market will let me take back packaging to reuse – egg cartons, coffee bean bags, olive oil bottles etc. I also keep the plastic bags for putting produce in and reuse them each (I know, I’m really good at being a hippy). Ideally I’d like to have organic cotton bags to put the produce in and reuse. One day!
Buy food from the bulk section at the health food store for things like nuts and beans to avoid the plastic packaging (don’t do this if you’re celiac, cross contamination danger zone).
And definitely avoid plastic wrap and microwavable dinners or containers.
3. Avoid canned food
Avoid anything that comes in a can – buy dried beans and cook them yourself and buy the diced tomatoes in glass jars (like these) if possible.
This also includes soda in a can – but there’s plenty of other great reasons for not drinking that!
4. Never heat plastic or cans
Avoid putting plastic containers, bottles or cans in the microwave or dishwasher (or freezer for that matter).
5. Use safer alternatives
Use glass, ceramic or stainless steel alternatives for hot food.
6. Say no to receipts
Yep, not even receipts are safe. Receipts made with thermal paper (the kind that turns dark when scratched) are another way to be exposed to BPA (and the absorption is up to a 100 times worse after using hand sanitizer. This is especially bad news if you work as a cashier handling receipts all day. (2)
This also includes movie and airline tickets.
If you do handle a receipt, always wash your hands before you eat.