Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Is Your Water Bottle Safe? BPA Dangers
Plastic is one of the defining characteristics of modern life. Try to go a day without using plastic; it's difficult! The sad truth about plastic products is that they contain chemical components that can harm the environment and your health! One such chemical is called Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is one of the most widely-used synthetic components in the world. Most of the clear, shatter-proof plastic used in baby bottles, food storage containers, and rigid water bottles contain this chemical. Plastics that have the recycle symbol with the # 7 likely have BPA. BPA is also widely found in the lining of beer and soda cans, as well as the lining of various canned food products. BPA is an estrogen-mimicking molecule and therefore disrupts systems in our bodies that are influenced by the estrogen hormone. BPA leaches from plastic and can easily end up in our systems! CDC scientists measured BPA in the urine of 2,517 individuals aged six years and older who took part in a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and found BPA in the urine of nearly all of the people tested, which indicates widespread exposure to BPA in the U.S. population.
Should we be worried about this finding? Absolutely! Scientists have known that BPA is an endocrine-disrupter since the 1930s. In the past ten years, researchers have been aggressively investigating the potential harms of BPA and the findings are frightening. BPA has been linked to early onset of puberty, infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, abnormal brain development, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, three types of cancer (breast, prostate, and uterine), and asthma.
How do you avoid BPA exposure? Most importantly, stop storing your water and beverages in plastic bottles that have the recycle symbol and a number 7 on them. As an alternative, use stainless steel water bottles or opt for the new glass water bottles by LifeFactory, which are free of BPA and other harmful chemicals found in plastic (such as PVC). Also, avoid heating plastic containers, whether it's heating them in a microwave, leaving them out in the sun, or washing them in a dishwasher; the heat will accelerate the breakdown of the chemicals in the plastic, making the chemicals more likely to leach into your food. Look for canned food options that are BPA-free, such as products from Eden Foods. Another step you can take is to tell Congress to ban BPA in our food products. Sign a petition here: http://tinyurl.com/banBPA. In Japan, when BPA-lined food cans were outlawed, tests showed that the population's BPA levels dropped significantly. We can only hope that our voices will be heard and that this harmful chemical will be banned in our country as well!