Movies would have us believe that the worst dangers in society come from wild animal or extraterrestrial beings; however, you are putting yourself more at risk every time you take a sip from a plastic cup. Many plastics in the United States are made with biphenol (BPA), a chemical used to strengthen them and increase their durability. While it has its benefits, this chemical has been proven to interfere with the development of the brain and the reproductive system, especially in children and fetuses, and is responsible for causing many health problems.
Because the dangers of these chemicals are very subtle and may take years to take effects, many people don’t find them terrifying enough to take seriously, and manufacturing companies know this, which is why they have been able to slip past the public's radar for decades even after the research on biphenol plastics has been published. It will probably be awhile before manufactures begin to invest in healthier alternative for containers; however, there are things you can be doing now to eliminate some BPA from your life. Understanding what is in the items you handle everyday is critical for your health and the health of anyone who depends on you, so the sooner you start making changes, the better.
Who is Responsible
Before we go any further, let’s examine what got us into this mess in the first place. Remember, no one party can be singled out and given full culpability. Some want to blame the corporations, others the government, and the consumers—responsibility is not all that simple to assign.
However, we do know one thing; BPA is a harmful chemical, even in small quantities, and many food and beverage companies including Coca Cola, Del Monte and Crown, despite being aware of this evidence, have held meetings, strategizing how to prevent BPA regulations and continue to develop products the same way as they have for years. Some companies have even gone so far as to threaten to monopolize the markets on baby food if not given their way, and recruit pregnant women to speak on the health benefits of ingesting food and drinks from BPA laced containers. It’s unfortunate that so few companies are willing to make even rudimentary changes for the sake of their customers’ health; however, if they won’t take action, it’s up to you. You’re going to need to find out which products are safe and which are not, and hopefully with enough people doing to same thing, companies are going to get the message that they can no longer serve you lies.
Reducing Exposure to BPA
The old adage is true: You cannot control what other people do, but you can control what you do. Therefore, let's discuss some ways you can cut BPA out of your life. It might be difficult to eliminate it completely, as this chemical can be found all around your house in the items that you use everyday, but every bit of it that does not end up in your body will benefit your health immensely.
Eat less canned goods
While buying cans might seem like the best course of action to avoid ingesting BPA. What many people might not know is that many aluminum cans are lined on the inside with BPA containing plastics, making them as unsafe as most plastic containers. This is especially true for highly acidic foods such a tomatoes and corn, as their acidity can actually pull the BPA off of the can’s lining and meld it into the food. Instead of buying canned vegetables, get them fresh. It’s much healthier and they’ll taste better too. Also, if you need soups, juices, or other normally canned foods, try to get them in cardboard cartons made of aluminum and polyethylene plastics (with a number 2 recycling code) for a much safer way to eat.
Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastics
While polyethylene plastics are generally safer, you are going to want to look out for foods stored in polycarbonate plastics. Eating food from polycarbonate plastics is unhealthy enough, but if you are eating from polycarbonate made plastic containers, at least make sure that you do not microwave them. Microwaving these plastics will release their BPA from them and it will seep into the food you plan on putting in your body. Unfortunately, manufacturers are not required to disclose whether or not their products contain BPA; however, if the container has a number 7 recycling code on the packages bottom, that usually means it has biphenol in the plastic. Whatever container your food comes in, make it a habit of remove it from the packaging and pour it into a plate or cup before you put it in the microwave. Though it’s better to just stay away from polycarbonates in the first place.
Go for glass
Your best bet when trying to avoid BPAs is to get glass containers as much as possible. Glass bottles, glass jars, etc., whenever you have the opportunity to get a product in glass, take it. Not only does glass not contain BPA, there are numerous other benefits of glass as well. First, glass does not contain heavy metals such as nickel, arsenic or chromium that you can often find in stainless steel. Also, you can add essential oils without worrying that its surface will break down and disintegrate, and you usually can put glass in a microwave as long as it’s microwave safe. Lastly, food and beverages from glass containers simply taste better. None of those metallic or plastic flavors, just the food as nature meant for it to taste. So, for multiple reasons, glass should be your go to container of choice.
Now, if you lower your BPA intake, what will you have actually done for your body? First off, BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means that it messes with the body’s hormone functions. The body has a natural way of handling hormones—producing them, secretive them, transporting them and eliminating them—in other words, there is a very delicate ecosystem right inside your body, and even the slightest interferences can throw it off. BPA can act as an artificial estrogen, elevating your bodies natural estrogen reserve to an unhealthy level. This hormone disruptor, especially in young children (in and out of the womb), can cause reproductive issues including early puberty and infertility; increased risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, chest pain, high blood pressure and hypertension; type 2 diabetes, asthma, breast/prostate cancer and brain development problems. Don’t panic. This doesn't means that if you have been consuming foods and beverages from BPA laced cans and plastics that you’re going to die before you finish this article. It does mean, however, that nothing good can come from this chemical, and to keep you body running as smoothly as possible for as long as it can, you should pay attention to the packages your food comes in as much as the food itself.
Now that you know the dangers of BPA, why don’t you do society a favor and take steps to raise public awareness about this dangerous chemical? Let people know how to adapt their lifestyles so that BPA does not enter there bodies, and give advice. You don’t need to stand on a soap box and intimidate people; simply explain to them what research has shown and they should want to make a change. Share ideas with friends and give advice on alternative ways to eat. If you choose, you can even take it to the next level and post this information on social media or bring it up at town hall meetings. If enough people are talking about this, the odds are that pretty soon, manufacturing companies are going to start to feel the heat. They’ll be forced to either change the way they make their products or fall, while other, health-conscious companies will rise up. Hopefully, by the time today’s children are grown and starting families of their own, BPA laced cans and plastics will be a thing of the past, and a healthier society will be well underway.