Most of you must have heard or read about BPA, but how cautious are you about the BPA in your food and drink? Do you really take precautions that can reduce your exposure to BPA?
BPA is present in most of the products used by us in our daily lives. From water and feeding bottles to lunch boxes, storage containers, dinnerware, cans and more, we come in contact with BPA almost all the time. For anyone that’s wondering what BPA is, and why the big fuss about it, BPA or Bisphenol A is a chemical compound used to harden plastic goods and coat food and drink cans. This chemical compound has the potential to leach out of these containers and enter our bodies!
According to a scientific study conducted by CDC, in the USA, almost every one (including children) who participated in the trial, showed measurable levels of BPA in their urine samples. This clearly shows the widespread exposure to BPA and its presence in our bodies. With plastic occupying a predominant place in the Food and Beverage industry, it seems almost inevitable to completely avoid plastic based containers and exposure to BPA. We take in BPA all the time and the most common route of BPA ingestion is obviously through food and drinks stored in plastic containers and cans. BPA can leach from containers and linings of cans into the food material stored. Leaching can be more when the containers are cleaned using strong chemical based soaps, or when food or liquids are stored at very high temperatures.
Although human health effects from low exposure to BPA are not clearly known, research has shown some possible health effects of BPA on the brain and other organs. Infants and children are particularly more sensitive to BPA. BPA can mimic some human hormones thereby interfering with the normal secretion and function of natural hormones in the body. Several research studies have indicated that excess amounts of BPA in the body can affect the male and female reproductive health, cause heart problems and brain damage including problems with memory, learning and behavior.
With such widespread presence in the products we use and the potential for it to enter our bodies, how can we take BPA so lightly? Exposure to BPA can be easily prevented by taking small precautions. Here’s how you can do it:
- As far as possible, use plastic products that are labelled “BPA FREE”.
- Reduce the use of canned foods and drinks.
- Do not use plastic containers in microwaves and dishwashers to prevent damage from high heat.
- Do not clean plastic containers with strong chemicals.
- Make sure your drinking water is packed in BPA free bottles.
- Avoid the use of plastic as much as possible by replacing plastic with glass, ceramic and stainless steel.
- Breastfeed your baby to reduce exposure to BPA through feeding bottles.