BPA: A low-down of the most important information
Potential Effects of BPA Use/Courtesy of the Environmental Working Group
Long before studies on it were made public in 2008, Bisphenol-A has been a widely covered topic in the field of health science. Better known as BPA, the chemical is found in a variety of items that we come into contact with in our day-to-day lives: tupperware, water bottles, the lining in soda cans, the plastic on children’s sealant to prevent cavities, even in baby products, like formula containers. The most commonly known place it’s found is in items that contain polycarbonate, which is a primary component of hard plastics.
Since its invention in 1891, scientists have been doing studies on its effects on the human body. In 1930, there were inklings regarding its toxicity as an estrogen-mimicker, but serious evidence has been surfacing over the past twenty years. This evidence has not only proven BPA’s far-reaching effects, but has also successfully shown that 93% of our population has it running in their system, and that it is also tainting our water supply.
What does it mean if BPA is in our bodies? Let’s put it this way, its effects go way beyond just being a simple estrogen-mimicker. Recent studies are linking BPA to heart disease, behavioral issues, and early puberty in females. In addition, scientists question how BPA affects the brain, sexual organs, fetus/infant/child development, and even obesity levels. Increased risk of breast cancer is also a concern with BPA exposure. And to think, all this is just the tip of the iceberg. New studies are still coming out even to this date.
Now the question is, how can consumers limit their exposure to this chemical? The old answer used to be to buy BPA-free plastics, but now scientists are even discovering estrogen-mimicking chemicals in these products as well. For now, my suggestion would be this: buy an aluminum reusable water bottle for beverages. This step is not only healthful, but it is also green and cost-efficient. Less bottled water being bought, consumed, and put in the landfill. The only thing is that you need to clean the aluminum bottle to eliminate germs from prolonged use. Also, try investing in glass tupperware to store your leftover food. If you have to use plastics, do not heat them up in the microwave or have them interact with hot items as that helps BPA and other harmful chemicals break down faster.
Unfortunately, we cannot completely eliminate our exposure to BPA one hundred percent at this point. Legislature is being considered in a number of states to ban the chemical, but the process is still slow going. We can only hope that our nation can take the proper procedures to help us make our lifestyles safe and health, if not for us now, then for the future.
Eliza Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org