The widespread use of bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic goods was big news a few years ago. Some research has shown it mimics the hormone estrogen and has been linked to a long list of health problems. In 2012 the FDA banned it in baby products and several manufacturers have removed BPA (added to plastics as a strengthener) from items such as water bottles and food storage containers.
Unfortunately, BPA is still being used in products we are exposed to daily, and BPA has been linked to sluggish thyroid and hormonal imbalances that can trigger symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and weight gain. Yuck!
There is some good news however! Studies also show that BPA levels quickly decrease in the body once exposure to the chemical is reduced.
Here are 3 top sources of BPA to avoid and simple ways to decrease your risk of exposure.
The risk: The thermal paper used to print receipts at grocery stores, gas pumps, and ATM’s in coated with BPA which can then seep from the paper into your skin. In a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, subjects who handled thermal paper receipts for two hours tripled the BPA levels in their urine.
The fix: Limit contact by opting for e-receipts if possible, and keep paper receipts in a separate compartment or envelope in your purse. Fold receipts so the printed surface is facing inward since that is the side that’s typically BPA-coated.
The risk: The majority of the canned fruits, vegetables, soup, tomato sauce, etc. found on your grocery store shelves are lined with a resin containing BPA (which helps prevent corrosion.) While some companies have started removing the chemical from their packaging, it is definitely not industry-wide yet.
The fix: Buy fresh or frozen food which are higher in nutrients anyway. When you can’t buy fresh or frozen, choose glass or cardboard containers.
The risk: Cans of beer, soda, juice, soy milk, etc. use BPA in their linings. A recent study showed the levels of toxins climbed sixteen-fold in people who drank the contents of two BPA-lined cans. And new research shows that “BPA-free” plastics actually appear to have similar—and sometimes even worse—endocrine-disrupting effects.
The fix: Choose glass bottles whenever possible…they’re your safest bet. For sipping on-the-go…invest in a stainless steel bottle.
Given the wide use of BPA in so many products we encounter every day, it is virtually impossible to completely eliminate your exposure to this chemical. However, you can greatly reduce your exposure—and your risk of possible health problems—by taking these few simple precautions.