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Do you ever think about the plastic in your kitchen?

BPA

If you’re like me you have a drawer full of plastic containers. When they get too scarred from use in the microwave they find their way to the garbage. They are handy, cheap, reusable, and stack easily together. They are disposable if the kids forget them at school, or they get left at the office.

What’s not to love about cheap and convenient?

People don’t consider the plastic contains chemicals that leach into your food.  

The grocery aisle stages every kind of plastic with its own BPA free version. Baby bottles, sports bottles, and food containers shout from their packaging, claiming to be BPA free. What is BPA, and why does it matter?

BPA

(Bisphenol-A) is an industrial chemical that’s used in many household plastics and food packages. It’s capable of interfering with the body’s hormones, particularly estrogen, and scientists have linked BPA exposure to diseases like cancer and diabetes. Once ingested, it mimics estrogen in our bodies.

If that doesn’t concern you, there’s nothing of interest for you here. If that raises an eyebrow, keep reading.

BPA free

BPA free is the removal of BPA, and it has less than desirable chemical replacements. BPS is a common replacement for BPA. It is known as a regrettable substitution.

The FDA declares the chemical safe to use in food packaging, but calls for its removal in baby bottles and sippy cups.

I breathe a little easier when the EU agrees something is safe. This time the EU missed the mark, and it is waking up to its own error in judgment.

The European Food Safety Authority acknowledged BPA residues could migrate into foods and drinks and be ingested by consumers, and that BPA from thermal paper could be either inhaled or absorbed through the skin, and was within the tolerable daily intake.

Recently the EFSA changed its opinion on BPA — “a significant body of new scientific information on its toxic effects”, caused the expert panel to reach a new conclusion — that high doses of BPA — hundreds of times above the TDI — were likely to adversely affect the kidney and liver, and might also cause effects animals’ mammary glands.

Cash register receipts contain BPA. A study by the EWG finds two-fifths of the paper receipts tested by a major laboratory commissioned by Environmental Working Group were on heat-activated paper that was between 0.8 to nearly 3 percent pure BPA by weight. Receipts came from a variety of retailers: convenience stores, gas stations, ATM machines, and fast food chains.

My kids like to hand the Sam’s Club receipt to the checker at the door. They like receiving a smiley face as the greeter ensures the correct number of items are in my cart. I think we’ll abstain going forward.

It is an easy fix for retailers to switch to BPA free paper, but not as cost effective. Retailers using BPA paper aren’t afraid to boast about it at the register.

Canned goods are laden with BPA in the lid, the lining, or both. The industry claimed to be moving away from chemicals, but a study earlier this year reveals otherwise. Nearly two-thirds of cans tested still contain BPA. Popular name brands at the top of the list are Campbell’s, Del Monte, and General Mills.

campbells

“FrankenBeans” by Mike Brennan

All of Campbell’s cans tested positive for BPA, as did 71% of Del Monte’s and 50% of General Mills canned goods. Read the full report here.

After canned good consumption, BPA levels are present in excess of the total daily intake guidelines. Organic or non-organic doesn’t matter. Doctoral student Jenny Carwile led the Harvard based study finding more than 1,000 times the daily intake of BPA in the urine of participants up to two days post consumption. 

buyer-beware-infographic

Source: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

We know what the problem is, and where BPA is found, but what do we do about it?

Solutions:

  • Eliminate plastic use if you can. Use glass, or stainless steel containers instead. They are safe. Remember Pyrex? Pick it up at a yard sale for pocket change.
  • If you use plastic don’t heat it. Chemicals leach into food when containers are heated, and reheated. Microwave safe means it won’t warp in the microwave. Dishwasher safe means it won’t melt on the top rack of the dishwasher. It doesn’t mean the container is chemical free after heating.
  • Use a stainless steel water bottle. Sigg is my choice, but older versions have BPA in the lining.  Yeti is another option, and a pricey one.

I don’t think it is possible to have a kitchen 100% free of plastic. Looking around my kitchen I see it holding my flour, sugar, popcorn seeds, and the kid’s ketchup. I do my best to cut down on using it. If you have other tips, comment below and share them.

If you like this post, you may also like this one: WTH2OMG about what’s in your water.

This is a reader suggested topic. When you make suggestions in the Facebook community, or with comment forms, we explore them. Got a healthy topic you want to know more about? Please share it.

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