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Bisphenol A (a.k.a  BPA)

What You Need to Know

Ready to do this? Let's bring it on. Taking on this challenge is like taking out the trash. It's not because we want to, but it needs to be done. The first felon on our list is Bisphenol A. You may have seen him around town using the alias BPA or products proudly boasting BPA-Free. Here is how we become familiar with his rap sheet:

It’s a plastic softener, so it’s found in a lot of plastic products and plastic food wrapping. While BPA is synthetic, it really isn't that new. BPA is an infamous hormone-disrupting chemical. Yes, it can interact with the beautiful functions of our bodies, and critical development of our children. Even tiny amounts of BPA can lead to serious health problems. When it comes to pregnancy, small exposures during certain windows of fetal development can lead to serious health problems later in that child’s life.

Originally, BPA was a created as a drug, designed to prevent miscarriages in the 1930's. Then, put aside for a couple decades, it had a resurgence in the late 1900's in plastics, canned food, thermal receipt paper and other household products. 

In addition to being hormone disrupter, it is a multi-tasking chemical. BPA has a long list for harming human health. It’s linked to cardiovascular disease, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive dysfunction, metabolic dysfunction and diabetes, and neurological and behavioral disorders. It's time to put him in solitary confinment. 

Where to Look/Alternatives

Avoid the recycle symbol #7, which signifies polycarbonate (BPA is a building block of this plastic).

However, BPA won’t appear on any other labels, so here are some tips for avoiding it:

  • Avoid plastic containers like water bottles and food storage; opt for stainless steel, glass, or ceramic instead.

  • Look for fresh or frozen food as an alternative to canned food. If you do buy canned food, buy from the few canned food companies now using BPA-free can liners.

  • Don’t microwave plastic! It allows BPA to leach into your food.

  • Refuse receipts when you can. BPA from thermal paper rubs off easily. Keep receipts you need in an envelope separate from your wallet or purse, and wash your hands after handling them.

Dive a Little Deeper 

The good news with BPA (yes, there actually is some) is that studies show that efforts to avoid it really pay off in lowering levels of this toxic chemical in our bodies. One study found that eating one can of soup every day for 5 days increased the BPA in the body by 1200%. Another 2011 study  demonstrated that people decreased the amount of BPA in their bodies by 60% in just three days when they stopped eating canned foods and food packaged in plastics. What about you? How often are you exposed? In a week, you might have a soda, prepare beans from a can, make spaghetti sauce out of canned tomatoes, eat a can of soup and make a tuna sandwich. Can you have an impact on your BPA exposure? Yes. Absolutely. 

Learn More

Does your mind crave more? Below are a few more links we thought you might find interesting. This isn't a complete listing, but offers more threads for the conversation. 

Savvy Members 

Follow Andrea Fabry in Cutting Back on BPA in the Home | A Journey Worth Doing, as she takes this challenge and found surprisingly easy areas in her kitchen to replace exposure to BPA. 

 

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Savvy's Mugshots shares harmful chemicals found in everyday products and those which you can reduce your exposure through action.
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