Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, is a synthetic estrogen used to harden polycarbonate plastics (like some baby and water bottles) and in the epoxy resin used can linings. It was found in the bodies of 93 percent of the Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control. In laboratory tests trace BPA exposure been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and trigger a wide variety of disorders, including chromosomal and reproductive system abnormalities, cancer, cardiovascular system damage, adult-onset diabetes, obesity and resistance to chemotherapy.
As with many toxic chemicals, infants and young children are at the greatest risk of harm because their bodies are still developing. The National Toxicology Program has expressed concern that children’s exposure to BPA may lead to problems with brain and reproductive system development and behavior.Limit your exposure to BPA from canned foods and plastic containers.
- Canned foods. Almost all canned foods (including canning jars) sold in the U.S. have a BPA-based epoxy liner that can leach BPA into the food inside. Pregnant women and young children, especially, should limit their consumption of canned foods to avoid BPA. Here’s how:
- If you’re feeding your baby infant formula, use powdered formula because it has the least BPA. If you’re set on liquid formula, choose a brand sold in plastic and avoid ready-to-eat formula, which has the highest levels. Read more from EWG on safely feeding your baby.
- Buy fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned.
- For canned veggies and fruits, choose glass bottles where available; the lids may contain BPA but less than cans.
- For canned beans, consider choosing Eden Foods brand because the cans are BPA-free. Or soak and cook dried beans – it’s a little more work but also less expensive.
- In a pinch, rinsing canned fruit or vegetables may reduce the amount of BPA you ingest.
- Make a special effort to avoid canned prepared foods like pastas and soups. We have found that they tend to have higher levels of BPA.
- Simple precautions can minimize exposure to BPA and other chemicals that leach from plastic containers and water bottles:
- Use glass or a BPA-free plastic baby bottles.
- Avoid polycarbonate containers (marked with a #7 or ‘PC’), especially for children’s food and drinks.
- We recommend the use of glass over plastics, but when you have no choice, plastics marked with a #1, 2, 4, and 5 don’t contain BPA and are generally safer for food.
- Don’t microwave plastics or fill them with hot liquids.
- Wash plastics on the top shelf of the dishwasher, where the water is cooler, or by hand.
- Avoid old, scratched water bottles.
- Use stainless water bottles without plastic linings.