On Friday, I explained BPA’s many health risks. But in order to avoid it, you need to know where to find it.
The lining in canned food and beverages is made of BADGE-40H, a byproduct of BPA that prevents corrosion and food contamination. One in five cans of food tested contain BPA, and the rate jumps to one in three cans of vegetables and pastas. BPA is found in the liners of cans of soda pop, canned tuna, canned fruit like peaches and pineapples, canned vegetables like green beans and corn, and canned soups like tomato and chicken noodle. 1 The Environmental Working Group actually issued a warning that pregnant women and children should limit their consumption of canned foods. 2
I’ve been trying to limit my use of plastic food containers, and have thrown some glass canning jars into the mix. However, the canning lids are coated in BPA. Dang. The good news is there are BPA-free canning lids available now.
Polycarbonate plastic bottles
Steer clear of the shatterproof, transparent water bottles. Watch out for water cooler bottles, too. Many plastic products that are labeled #7 or PC are actually polycarbonate. It doesn’t matter if your beverage is hot or cold – the BPA leaches into your beverage, regardless of the temperature. 3 However, a University of Cincinnati study shows that boiling water added to a polycarbonate bottle greatly increases the exposure to the chemical. 4
Children’s sippy cups
Pay attention to BPA-free labels. If the label doesn’t say BPA-free, the sippy cup probably is not. Also be on the lookout for old baby bottles. Before 2009, most baby bottles were made with BPA, so toss any hand-me-downs.
Like canned food, most cans of powdered infant formula are lined with BPA. And all liquid formulas contain BPA, thanks to the plastic containers. 5 The Environmental Working Group’s research proves that one of every sixteen infants given formula are exposed to levels of BPA that alter neurodevelopment, testosterone, and both male and female reproductive systems. 6
Note that until 2009, infants were exposed to BPA through both infant formula and baby bottles. Baby bottles were manufactured with BPA, so formula-fed infants were given a double dose of the toxin with each feeding.
The plastic coating used to seal teeth is known to contain BPA. 7
BPA is present in most thermal imaging papers and carbonless copy papers used for cash register receipts. The big issue with the presence of BPA in receipts is that the BPA isn’t bonded into the product, like the BPA in polycarbonate water bottles. In receipts, it’s considered “free” and actually leaches onto a person’s hands. From there, BPA will go wherever your hands do – including onto your food, belongings, or into your mouth, if you don’t wash your hands first. 8
Unfortunately, receipts do not have any indication whether or not they’re printed with BPA. Because of this, children shouldn’t be allowed to play with receipts and pregnant women should wash their hands after handling receipts. If you keep your receipts, you may want to enclose them in a plastic bag to contain all the free BPA.
1. “Toxic Plastics Chemical in Infant Formula.” Jane Houlihan and Sonya Lunder. Environmental Working Group. Aug. 8, 2007.
2. “Bisphenol A: Toxic plastics chemical in canned food.” Environmental Working Group.
3. “BPA Chemical Leaches from Hard Plastic Drinking Bottles Into the Body Study.” Catharine Paddock. Medical News Today. May 22, 2009.
4. “Plastic (Not) Fantastic: Food Containers Leach a Potentially Harmful Chemical.” David Biello. Scientific American. Feb. 19, 2008.
5. “Bisphenol A.” Environmental Working Group.
6. “Toxic Plastics Chemical in Infant Formula.” Jane Houlihan and Sonya Lunder. Environmental Working Group. Aug. 8, 2007.
7. “Water pollution caused by cosmetic chemicals, cleaning supplies and plastics.” Rebecca Sutton and Jen Jackson. Environmental Working Group.
8. “Concerned about BPA: Check your receipts.” Janet Raloff. Science News. Oct. 7, 2009.
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