The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is widely used in products like food, water and milk container linings, including baby bottles, water pipes, and even dental sealants. Tests have concluded the finding of toxic levels of this chemical in “microwave safe” packaged containers also. This chemical, since 1936, has been known to mimic estrogens, and also disrupt the effects of estrogen in the developing brain at low doses. BPA is also implicated in disease and developmental problems, including an increase in breast cancer cell growth and also an increase of some prostate cancers. Recent studies have linked BPA to heart disease and diabetes.
Dr. Belcher, an associate professor in the pharmacology and cell biophysics department at UC College of Medicine, explains that “BPA molecules are linked into polymers used to create polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins that are widely used in many products”. Scientists have known for years that BPA molecules are unstable and they can leak into foods or beverages that come in contact with the plastic, especially when used for extended periods or used in high temperatures, like a microwave. When these plastics and resins are exposed to high heat or hot liquids, BPA leaches out 55 times faster than under normal circumstances. How much do you use your plastic containers, plates and bottles in the microwave? Want to think twice about that? Children were shown to have higher levels than adults. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should especially avoid BPA leakage. How about using glass containers to reheat and glass to store your food, and heating the baby bottle on the stove top instead? BPA can also leak when hot foods are stored in plastic containers or when plastics are put in the dishwasher or cleaned with harsh chemicals. Take a look at your plastic containers. Are they scratched and worn out? Do you leave liquids sitting in your plastic bottles throughout the day? It’s time to throw out the old and start using something different.
In February, 2008, the FDA saw no reason to ban or restrict the use of BPA. In March of this year, U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation to ban the chemical BPA in all food and beverage containers. Last week, six baby bottle manufacturers announced they would stop using BPA in their baby bottles. The gas and chemical company, Sunoco, told its investors that it will now be refusing to sell BPA to companies for use in containers for children younger than 3.
What can you do right now? Watch what you put in the microwave. Use glass baby bottles and dishes. Throw out your old plastic cups and dishes, store leftovers in glass containers and use glass instead of plastic in the microwave if you absolutely have to use it. I use glass mason jars for my drinks and I rarely use the microwave. I still haven’t gotten rid of it, but it’s on its way out. Plastic wrap? Never use in the microwave. Bottles and containers with the recycling No. 7 on the bottom, may contain BPA. Many companies are now advertising BPA Free items.
Be proactive about your health. I wish you good health!