Did you know that bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most widely used chemicals of all time? In fact, it is probably circulating through your body right now. It is found in the cord blood of newborns and was present in 93% of 2,517 Americans age 6 and over, tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers have linked developmental exposure to BPA to reproductive harm, increased cancer susceptibility, and abnormalities in brain development and fat metabolism.
Canadian and European leaders have already banned BPA for use in baby bottles and in 2009, Sunoco (a Philadelphia based leading gas and chemical company) told investors that the company would no longer be selling BPA to companies for use in food and water containers for children under age 3. The company reportedly told investors that it could no longer vouch for the safety of BPA when used in those products. Now, a government-funded study published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics is adding to the large body of evidence that BPA is harmful not only to children and adults, but also to the unborn.
In this latest study, Harvard researchers took urine samples from 244 pregnant women living in Cincinnati twice during their pregnancies and once directly after giving birth and measured the BPA concentration. The study concluded that mothers with high levels of bisphenol A in their urine were more likely to report that their children were hyperactive, aggressive, anxious, depressed and less in control of their emotions than mothers with low levels of the chemical. While several studies have linked BPA to behavioral problems in children, this report is the first to suggest that a young girl’s emotional well-being is linked to her mother’s exposure during pregnancy rather than the child’s exposure after birth.
Although a total reduction of BPA is impossible, there are things that you can easily do to have a healthier, greener, BPA free pregnancy and life.
The following are 5 easy ways you can protect yourself and your unborn baby from the harmful effects of BPA exposure.
- Use Stainless Steel and Glass and Stay Away From PET Water Bottles - To have a greener pregnancy and protect your baby, simply choose as many stainless steel and glass products as possible. Pick up a stainless steel water bottle or two and save a buck or two by filling at home for when you are on the go.
- Wash Your Hands and Then Wash Again! - Did you know that receipts contain large amounts of BPA as does money in your wallet? BPA exposure from receipts has been reported to be almost as high as exposure from plastics. Frequent hand washing throughout the day is imperative to reducing your exposure to BPA. You may even want to refuse your receipts and store them away from money in a separate envelope.
- Treat Your Plastics Right- “We’ve long cautioned consumers to avoid extreme heat and cooling for plastics, to discard scratched and worn plastics and we feel like this [study] validates one of our many concerns,” says Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group. Also, always remove your food from its plastic container before heating in the microwave.
- Avoid Canned Foods - I know this one is not as easy as the others but consumer reports found that BPA is in the lining of most cans. Eden Foods does provide BPA free cans and manufacturers will certainly follow with pressure from greenies like us. The Ball Corp. is producing custom runs of cans with oleo-based C-enamel linings for Eden and is also doing research to develop more BPA-free can coatings. Don't forget also, to limit your intake of soda that comes in cans.
- Know Your Plastics and Buy BPA Free Products- With a little knowledge, you can identify which containers might have BPA. For example, although it may be colored, polycarbonate (BPA laden) is usually clear rather than cloudy. If the container carries a recycling code, it will be marked with the number 7 or the letters “PC,” or both. Number 7 bottles made with BPA-free polyethersulfone (PES) won’t have the PC marking. Other BPA-free plastic alternatives include polyethylene, which may be marked with recycling codes 1 (PET) or 2 (HDPE), and polypropylene, 5 (PP). Sound confusing? Make it easy and look for products labeled as BPA free. You can even shop online at The Green PolkaDot Box (opening 11-1-10) as they provide a listing of products which are BPA free.
Sources: AttorneyatLaw.com, EB, FOX News, Washington Post