The safety of BPA has been questioned for decades. In fact its toxicity was first discovered in 1930 when it was initially found to mimic estrogen, leading to various cancers. But nonetheless, a decade later its use was ubiquitous in plastics, cans and tins used for foods. Although manufactures knew of its health impacts, they were not required to prove its safety. Until more recently, BPA’s toxicity has been ignored by governmental regulatory organizations, despite mounting evidence for the contrary.
Risks: Who, What and Where?
The NIH determined that BPA may pose risks to human development, raising concerns for early puberty, prostate effects, breast cancer, and behavioral impacts from early-life exposures. It is thought that pregnant women, infants and young children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of BPA, but a recent study linked BPA exposures to risk of heart disease, diabetes, and liver toxicity- thus greatly expanding the risk groups.
It seems that BPA poses a risk to the entire population and with the wide spread use of plastics for eating, cooking and drinking there is no where to hide! This fact was clearly demonstrated in the U.S. 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). 92% of the 2,517 participants (aged 6+) had detectable concentrations of BPA in their urine.
Harvard Study Conclusions
The Harvard School of Public Health’s study is the first to quantitatively demonstrate the impact of drinking from polycarbonate bottles on urinary BPA. The results suggest that drinking containers made with BPA, release sufficient amounts of BPA into the liquid stored in the container. This study only looked at the effects of drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate containers, and researchers predict that the results are modest. Heating liquids (or the containers themselves) is thought to increase the amount of BPA leached from the polycarbonate.
Harvard researchers hope that this study will be replicated in other populations which ultimately will help inform public health policy regarding the use of BPA in polycarbonate food and beverage containers. Currently BPA found in certain food and beverage containers is banned in Canada, Chicago, Ill and Suffolk County, NY and will be illegal in Minnesota in 2010.
We at SupermarketGuru.com encourage you to do your best to avoid BPA. Here are some tips:
- 1. Choose frozen or jarred vegetables instead of cans with BPA’s epoxy white lining
- 2. When on the go- drink from reusable stainless steel bottles or other BPA free polyethylene containers. Even consider bringing your own cup to your favorite coffee shop- this may help limit exposure to BPA and will help save you some change!
- 3. Eat tuna from pouches or jars instead of cans.
- 4. Do not microwave plastics; this includes all Tupperware- use microwave safe glass or porcelain instead
- 5. Avoid plastics containing the number 7 in the recycling symbol (usually found on the bottom of the container) these contain BPA.
The full Harvard study can be found at: http://www.ehponline.org/members/2009/0900604/0900604.pdf
Known as The Supermarket Guru ® , Lempert is a distinguished author and speaker who alerts customers and business leaders to impending corporate and consumer trends, and empowers them to make educated purchasing and marketing decisions.
As one of America’s leading consumer trend-watchers and analysts, Phil Lempert is recognized on television, radio and in print. He is the food trends editor and correspondent for NBC News’ Today show, where he reports on consumer trends, food safety and money-saving tips, as well as showcases new products.
He makes monthly appearances on ABC’s The View , and has appeared numerous times on The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, CNBC, Discovery Health and MSNBC, as well as on local television morning and news programs throughout the country.