BPA Update

July 07, 2010

Supermarket Guru wants to remind and update you about the issues related to this chemical

As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to deflect pressures regarding an absolute decision on the safety of bisphenol-a (BPA), a hormone-like chemical found in plastic bottles, cans, and other food containers, Supermarket Guru wants to remind and update you about the issues related to this chemical. Recent studies, conducted by the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health, prompted the FDA to question and acknowledge “potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.” Exposure to BPA results primarily through containers used to store, cook, and transport foods and beverages.

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. 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 recently, BPA’s toxicity had been ignored by the FDA - despite mounting evidence for the contrary.

It is thought that pregnant women, infants and young children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of BPA. The FDA believes that BPA’s effect on teens and adults is that the body systems of these populations are fully developed and thus are able to adequately process and detoxify toxins - but is looking to clarify this issue. Recent studies (those that the FDA is ‘currently looking into’) have 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! Clearly demonstrated by the U.S. 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), ninety two percent of the 2,517 participants (aged 6+) had detectable concentrations of BPA in their urine.

Currently the FDA supports industry’s actions to stop producing BPA containing infant bottles and feeding cups, facilitating the development for BPA alternatives, and creating a more robust regulatory system, among others. As companies begin to make the switch, it is still important to be on the look out for BPA containing containers and 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 - do refer to company’s websites for information on BPA free cans.
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 canned fish from pouches or jars instead of cans. Or contact the company to see if they use BPA in their can linings. 
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 or “PC” (usually found on the bottom of the container) these most often contain BPA and should not be used to reheat food. (Not all #7 plastics contain BPA; the only way to know for sure is to call the manufacturer).
6. Choose glass or plastics made with recycling label #1, #2 and #4, cloudy or soft colored plastic containers clearly labeled BPA free, stainless steel containers, or consider using tetra packs. 
7. Limit your consumption of canned soda and beer - where possible choose glass as an alternative.