By now you’ve likely heard the health concerns about man-made chemical bisphenol A that is a major part of US commerce and what goes into your shopping cart. While the the hormone disruptor is still legally allowed anywhere except baby bottles and sippy cups, you can take steps to reduce your exposure. Of special concern is BPA exposure to pregnant women and children.
During a recent visit with renowned research biologist Frederick vom Saal, PhD at the University of Missouri, I asked him for some tips on avoiding BPA and similar hormone disrupting chemicals, because he told the Flour Sack Mama audience:
“There are over 60 studies in people showing that the higher your BPA levels are, the more at risk you are for a whole host of diseases and the more at risk your fetus is going to be for having these abnormalities, so everything a mother can do to reduce BPA levels makes a difference.”
- Curators’ Professor Frederick vom Saal, PhD
University of Missouri Division of Biological Sciences
1. Avoid handling thermal receipt paper when possible.
Decline thermal paper receipts when you can. Store receipts in a separate place in your handbag where they can’t contaminate other things. Do NOT use hand sanitizer to “clean” hands after handling this paper, as it will increase your chances of the chemical being absorbed in your skin.
“Particularly if you are using some kind of hand sanitizer, your hands are wet, you will pull huge amounts of BPA off of the surface of receipt paper.”
Vom Saal says in a close look at receipt paper, about half tested positive for BPA, while the other half tested positive for BPS, a related replacement chemical that is even more persistent in the environment.
2. Can the cans for food and beverages, picking fresh or frozen foods instead.
Commercially canned foods can leach BPA from the inner linings of metal cans.
3. Transfer food out of plastics and store in glass or stainless steel containers when possible. Never heat food in plastic.
Scientists have detected estrogenic activity from BPA or similar chemicals in foods that have come into contact with various plastic packaging.
4. Avoid plastics for water bottles, even if they say BPA-Free. Choose stainless steel water bottles instead.
Current US law does not require manufacturers to prove long-term health/safety before putting a replacement chemical into a product. Nor are they required to declare the ingredients behind a trade secret. Even those selling a product may not understand whether or not it is safe.
“If it’s hard clear plastic, it’s possibly BPA or a BPA replacement product that may be as bad as BPA.”
“We have no way to know whether chemicals that are replacing BPA are any safer.”