The Crunchy Cookie

Equal parts deliciousness and hippiness

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in plastics and resins and is getting a lot of bad press recently.  Banned in the EU and Canada, BPA has been shown to mimic hormones in animal studies and linked to precancerous changes in cells, early-onset puberty, insulin resistance, and reproductive abnormalities.  The scary news?  Over 90 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies, and children may be even more susceptible to its negative effects.  While there is contention over whether or not BPA is harmful to humans, you may choose to limit you and your family’s exposure to this potentially dangerous chemical.

Here are some tips to avoid BPA in your everyday life:

  • Avoid plastics with the numbers 3, 6, and 7 inside the recycling sign on the bottom of the bottle (see the image at top right).
  • Be wary of products that advertise as “BPA-free”.  Good Housekeeping found that three products that the manufacturers had listed as BPA-free contained BPA and one contained both BPA and phthalates, another chemical found in plastics that has been linked to endocrine disruption.
  • Avoid canned foods, especially those containing acidic or fatty foods (like tomato sauce).  BPA leaches into these foods more than others.  Choose foods in glass containers or those in “brick” cartons like Tetrapaks.
  • Don’t microwave food in plastic containers or with plastic wrap.  A plastic bowl that is microwave-safe means that it won’t warp in the microwave, not that it won’t transfer chemicals to your food.
  • If you purchase food that has been wrapped or sealed in plastic, remove the layer of food that came into contact with the plastic during storage and store the rest in a glass or ceramic container.
  • Wash your hands after handling cash register receipts as the “waxy” kind of credit card receipt is lined with BPA.
  • Use BPA-free water bottles (such as the BPA-free lines from Camelback and Nalgene) and don’t reuse disposable drink bottles.
  • Don’t wash plastics in the dishwasher and use as many glass and ceramic containers as you can.
  • Ask your dentist to put BPA-free sealants on your family’s teeth.
  • Choose beauty products and toiletries that come in glass containers or BPA- and phthalate-free plastics.
  • Encourage your local restaurants and stores to provide BPA-free containers and bags for your food and shopping items.  Or, even better, bring your own containers and bags and reduce waste at the same time!
  • Choose BPA-free toys for children.

Do you have more tips on avoiding BPA?  Please post in the comment section below!