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How to Avoid Harmful BPA Plastics in your Food Supply

April 14, 2009

clear_plastic_bottlesPersonally I do not think the FDA is doing enough to control the use of  Bisphenol A (BPA), a common plastic used in baby bottles, water bottles, food packaging, other drink bottles and especially canned goods.

Should you be worried? The simple answer is Yes! And rightly so.

Canada is already on the band wagon disallowing said plastics to be used, why shouldn’t the good US of A not follow along, eh?!?

OK, now you ask, ‘why should I be any worried?’ Normally, I am not one to warn people like this, but as I lay down last night after reading an article on the subject of harmful plastics in our food while simultaneously catching the Food Network’s popular TV Show, “Food Unwrapped”, I watched the show whose topic was all things ‘orange’ and caught site of thousands of plastic bottles being filled with orange creme milk which were then fed to school children who readily drank the stuff. Yikes!

It lead me in deciding to write an article about this very subject. Immediately, I knew I should rethink what is even in my own refrigerator and what would I do to help avoid this plastic. Are these plastics well labeled that they contain BPA? No, not always…how so very nice for us unassuming consumers.

What is Bispherol A (BPA) and how does it harm us?

When the plastic bottles are exposed to boiling water for sterilization and even for pasteurization, BPA is released – and get this, can be released as much as 55 times than that of normal exposure of simply drinking from a plastic bottle that contains BPA, since the heat releases the toxins. Exposing the plastics to our dishwashers doesn’t necessarily make the cut either, as some scientists hesitate to say that this is safe, since the plastics are heated up so during the washing process.

And what does it do to our body? Frankly you really do not want to know – but it has been linked to many illnesses and diseases. Want to know a few? Obesity, diabetes, cancer, ADD, and premature onset of puberty just to name a few.

I quote, “The fear has been that exposure to BPA can cause birth defects and developmental problems. In addition, exposure to BPA has been blamed for a variety of other problems, including cancer, diabetes, obesity and attention-deficit disorder.”  – a recent article from the US News.com site (links below).

Now just think about the jump in numbers for ADD, diabetes, obesity and its correlation to the increasing use of plastics in our food supply. Hmmm, makes you think, yes? Well it should!

Here’s another quote from the NY Times: “While most of the focus is on products for children, including clear plastic bottles and canned infant formula, the chemical is also used in food-storage containers, some clear plastic pitchers used for filtered water, refillable water bottles and the lining of soft-drink and food cans.”

What seems to make the exposure or releasing of the harmful toxins greater is the heat. Scrubbing your plastic bottles makes it even worse as studies show.

Here’s another quote from the NY Times that shows you how wide its exposure hits our population…”The 2003-4 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found detectable levels of BPA in 93 percent of urine samples collected from more than 2,500 adults and children over 6.” WOW!!!! – Now you see why I was so concerned when I saw the multitude of kids drinking the orange creme milk from the plastic bottles. I am not saying that these plastic bottles that the kids were drinking from contained PBA – but do know those bottles were pasteurized with the milk in them…just saying.

How to Avoid PBA in your Food:

Start first of all to rethink how your foods are contained. Do you buy ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salad dressing? Most of us do… switch to glass. Most of these food items are available in glass containers. You just have to look for them on your store shelves.

What about storing foods already cooked? Well – rethink that too…Check the plastic containers and bottles on the bottom…”Any product made of hard, clear plastic is probably made from polycarbonate unless the manufacturer specifically states that it’s BPA-free. One way to check is to look for the triangle stamp on or near the bottom: polycarbonate plastics should have the numeral 7 in the triangle, sometimes with the letters PC.”  – NY Times (link below)

Rethink your canned goods as well….

Plastic bottles are not your only concern…rethink your canned goods in addition…Canned Goods you ask? Yes! “While much of the focus is on plastic bottles, most human exposure occurs through the lining of canned foods. Canned beverages appear to contain less of the chemical than canned foods like soup, pasta, fruits and vegetables, which are often processed at high temperatures. Virtually every canned product, even those labeled organic, has a liner with BPA. One brand, Eden Organic Baked Beans, says it uses a BPA-free can.” – NY Times (link below)

Now before you start throwing food away, simply rethink your future purchases. Switch to fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. For storing your food, select glass, porcelain, and stainless-steel containers.

Some useful links to learn more that I think you may find of interest…

http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/healthday/080130/heating-plastic-bottles-releases-potentially-harmful-chemical.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/health/22well.html

http://www.thegreenguide.com/buying-guide/plastic-containers

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26723119/

Now that you have learned a little, to help yourself and your family more, do not be afraid to make your own soups, grow your own vegetables, eat foods in moderation and certainly always eat a large variety of foods ( i.e. don’t stick with the same thing everyday) – serve up fresh fruits and vegetables since, as studies continuously show us that these foods in particular can really help you staying as healthy as possible due to their phytochemicals and antioxidants contents being readily available.

And come to think of it, let people know about this issue, spread the word in anyway you can. The more you know, the more you are forewarned and can do something to help not only yourself, but all those you care about.

~Chef Maven

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2009 2:12 pm

    I always buy glass!

  2. CatiaI permalink
    May 25, 2009 8:33 am

    I totally agree. I am not the type of person to leave comments but since moving to europe from U S I find myself comparing everything!! In europe bpa is not a problem. I recently contacted Chicco, a baby products manufacterer and was told that the bpa consumed was within european safe levels.ok!I also learned that other popular baby products manufacters make bpa and non bpa for us market. I had to ask my sister to send me bpa free bottles for my newborn daughter. glass is ok but while out with baby not so practicul.love your site by the way,im a busy mom to 7!!!

  3. April 12, 2011 9:03 pm

    I have also heard that Nestle’s chocolate milk powder is filled with naughty stuff (mercury) which should raise people’s eyebrows to make their own chocolate syrup!

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