Here at TTF HQ, we’re constantly looking to better ourselves through smart choices and information. Today we’re investigating bisphenol A (BPA) in household products. In 2012, the FDA banned the used of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. BPA is still being used in countless products available on the market so we wanted to delve deeper into the subject. Here’s what we sought to find out about BPA:
- What is this chemical and why has it been banned?
- What products are currently using BPA?
- What products are safe and where can we buy them?
In a request by the American Chemistry Council, the FDA said that their decision to ban the ingredient from being used in baby bottles and sippy cups was in part to boost consumer confidence in using plastic products.
Most manufacturers had already started to phase out BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. According to Steven Immergut, FDA spokesman, although the FDA “has been looking hard at BPA for a long time, and based on all the evidence, we [the FDA] continue to support its safe use.”
We [TTF] will see about that.
What is Bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A is an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical commercially used to harden plastic and epoxy resins. It’s currently one of the highest volume chemicals being produced in the world.
Although the FDA’s official stance is that BPA is safe in very low levels of exposures to people, they currently express “some concern” about its potential effects on the brain, behavior, hormonal development in fetuses, infants, and young children.
Thanks to its estrogen-mimicking qualities, experts believe that BPA could theoretically act like a hormone in the body and disrupt adolescent hormone development. Animal testing has even shown a possible link between BPA exposure and an increased risk of cancer. Many experts have also found connections between high levels of exposure to BPA and obesity, diabetes, ADHD, particularly in young children because their bodies are still developing and are less efficient at eliminating substances from their systems.
What products contain BPA?
BPA are found in most plastic packaging. It is also found in many cash register receipts because of the heat sensitive coating that allows for inkless printing, thus making it more cost effective.
BPA is also commonly used in medical and safety equipment, sports drink bottles, and many toys. Finally, the most likely place that BPA would be found in your households would be in your pantry, aka your canned goods. Nearly all metal cans are lined with a sealant that contains BPA.
The scariest thing about BPA is that this is clearly a very wide-spread chemical. Since having a completely BPA free household is not realistic, the best we can do is seek out products that are clearly marked “BPA free.”
What products are BPA free?
Besides baby bottles and sippy cups, there are currently no official FDA bans on BPA but they do “recommend taking reasonable steps” to reduce exposure in your food supply. While researchers are busy figuring out all the details on whether or not your family is safe, let’s just see what we can do to keep BPA at a minimum in our lives.
Avoid canned food and beverages. This is the #1 exposure route for people because of the BPA used in the sealant. Many canned food products come in a boxed version. You can also try frozen vegetables instead of canned and many drinks come in a glass bottle version. This small step can go a long way to protecting your family.
Any plastic products that are labeled with the #7 and the letters PC (polycarbonate). Try using glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids. Use them particularly for anything that is acidic such as lemonade or coffee (TTF’s two favorites).
Here are some companies that have a BPA-free Guarantee:
The Honest Company products (TTF Favorites) has an Honesty Free Guarantee that lists bisphenol A at the top of their lists of no-no ingredients. They have an extensive array of products that come in packaging that should be BPA-free.
Trader Joe’s canned goods selection has an array of BPA-free options. So if you can’t give up your cans, then this is the place for you.
Amy’s has completely transitioned to cans using no BPA in the formulation of its lining.