A little review… BPA, a common component in clear plastic, is a hormone-disrupting synthetic estrogen. According to the studies (like this one: http://www.chej.org/BPA_Website.htm) even at very low doses, BPA’s mimicry of estrogen caused prostate and breast cancer, early onset of puberty, obesity, hyperactivity, lowered sperm count, miscarriage, diabetes, and altered immune system in animal studies. It’s not hard to see that this hormone-like chemical could be the reason for growing concerns in our culture including: fertility problems, cancers, and early onset of puberty.
Media attention has been focused on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. But BPA-free should begin during your pregnancy! While your baby is developing in the womb, he or she is especially susceptible to environmental toxins and poisons. Here are some steps you can take to safeguard your child’s health.
Cooking & Storing Containers: BPA leaches from plastics during routine use and especially when a product is heated. It is not wise to cook, store, or serve in these plastics. Many plastic containers will reveal the plastic type in the recycle triangular symbol at the base. Protect your baby by examining your storage and cooking containers. Plastic types 6 or 7 probably have BPA content. Plastic types 2, 4, and 5 are considered safest. Sometime a container does not have a plastic symbol, but don’t assume that high-quality products will be safe. My Tupperware Rock n’ Serve and Heat n’ Serve containers (both meant to be used in the microwave), were made of plastic type 6 – BPA contaminated plastic. I discovered this after contacting the company because no information was revealed on the product. Whenever possible, replace your plastic containers with glass or metal options. All plastics leach to some degree and who knows what future studies will reveal.
Drink Bottles: It’s sad but true that your favorite Nalgene bottle emits BPA! That’s right, Nalgene has long loved and used polycarbonate plastic, which can only be produced by using BPA, to create bottles that are transparent, hard, and particularly shatter-resistant. During pregnancy, we all drink a lot of water – or try to. Replace your water bottle with a stainless steal option. Guyot, Klean Kanteen, and Sigg all make portable water bottles designed to protect the purity of your water. At Euphoria, we recently purchased the Guyot and we love it! Also, don’t simply reuse those plastic bottles in which bottled water is packaged. Those bottles are packaged in type 1 plastic, which is completely safe for single use but completely unsafe for multiple uses. Type 1 plastic is designed to break down quickly for recycling purposes. At home, check that your drinking cups aren’t made of type 6 or 7, and drink out of glass whenever possible.
Canned-Foods: This area is a little more challenging, but just as key as the others. Did you know that many canned food manufacturers line their cans with plastics or resins that include BPA? And, unfortunately, there are no government safety standards limiting the amount of BPA in canned food. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) sponsored a study with an independent lab that examined 97 cans of name-brand fruit, vegetables, soda, and other commonly eaten canned goods (http://www.ewg.org/reports/bisphenola). Over 1/2 of the cans included the toxin BPA. Tragically, canned infant formula was the worst offender. The lab reports, “analysis of our tests reveals that for one of every five cans tested, and for one-third of all vegetables and pastas (ravioli and noodles with tomato sauce), a single serving would expose a pregnant woman to BPA at levels that fall within a factor of 5 of doses linked to birth defects — permanent damage of developing male reproductive organs.” If you’d prefer NOT to eat food marinated in BPA, your best bet is to eat less canned food. Another option is to contact your favorite canned food manufacturers. For example, I visited the Muir Glenn website and quickly discovered that they line their cans in an enamel, not plastic.