Do Your Part: Five ways to limit exposure to BPA
What are the chances that you are buying and bringing BPA right into your own home? Probably pretty good, and there is reason to be concerned.
BPA – or bisphenol-A – shows up in a lot of the products we use every day and is linked to developmental problems, cancers, heart disease, diabetes and infertility.
For those want to reduce their exposure to this controversial chemical, here are my top five ways to do just that:
Be particular about your plastic: BPA can be found in plastic food containers and water bottles. It’s best to drink water from a stainless steel or “BPA-free”-labeled bottle.
If you are using plastic food containers or buy food in a plastic container, check the bottom. BPA is used in polycarbonate (PC) containers that are often marked No. 7. Plastics with the recycling numbers No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 are safer choices.
Make better choices for your baby: BPA can leach into liquid formula sold in metal cans. Powdered baby formula has been shown to be BPA-free so it’s the best choice.
Most manufacturers offer baby bottles made without BPA but as a general rule, hard, clear plastic often contains BPA while soft, cloudy plastic usually does not. Avoid baby bottles marked “PC” or No. 7 on the bottom.
Cut down on canned foods: BPA is also found in the lining of many canned food and juices. The chemical can leach from the liner into the food itself.
Seek out cans labeled “BPA-free” and choose food items packaged in glass or tetrapak pouches to reduce BPA exposure. Experts also recommend rinsing canned fruit and vegetables with water before eating to reduce exposure.
Handle receipts carefully: Several studies have found BPA in thermal paper including cash register receipts. If you don’t need the receipt, leave it or ask the cashier not to print one. If you need it, be sure to wash your hands after handling. Never let children handle store receipts.
You can tell if the receipt is printed on thermal paper if it makes a mark when you scratch it.
Glass is good: There is evidence that BPA can leach into food when it is heated in plastic containers in a microwave, even those that labeled as “microwave safe.” To reduce potential exposure, heat your food in a glass or ceramic container.
The bottom line? Reducing BPA exposure is an important way to create a healthier home for you and your family. Do your part when buying and using products to make sure they won’t contaminate your food, your body, or our planet.
Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, syndicated columnist, and host of DoYourPart.com, where you can find everyday green living ideas that are better for you and the planet. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.