BPA – What’s all the fuss about?
The news to avoid BPA has been wonderfully widespread, but how many people really look into why it’s so important? This article aims to give you an overview at least as to what it is and why it’s definitely worth the extra effort to avoid.
BPA (bisphenol A) is a chemical that is added to many commercial products, including food containers, drink bottles, beauty and hygiene products. It became popular in the 1950’s when the plastic industry realised it was a useful compound when making strong long-lasting plastic items.
BPA also hides out in non-plastic products such as the inner lining of canned food containers, factories do this to keep the metal from corroding and breaking, but this longevity comes at the expense of our health.
Here are some popular products that may contain BPA:
- Canned foods
- Plastic drinking bottles
- Dental filling sealants
- Feminine hygiene products
- Shopping receipts
- Most plastic containers
- Household electronics
- Eyeglass lenses
- Sports equipment
But, can’t we all take a sigh of relief because thankfully suppliers are now finding “BPA-free” alternatives? Well, not so much, it’s still wise to check your products as many have simply swapped BPA out with bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF) which can also cause chaos in our cells, similar to BPA.
Interestingly the main source of BPA exposure is through our diets. BPA containers are not always stable and often leach BPA into the container’s contents, this is especially dangerous when its food or fluids that we then consume. For instance, a recent study found that BPA levels in urine decreased by 66% following three days during which participants avoided packaged foods (5)
Another study had two groups of people, for five days one group ate fresh soup and the other canned soup, their urine was then tested. They found that the BPA levels were 1,221% higher in those who consumed the canned soup (6)
A key study for new mums came from WHO, they reported that BPA levels in breastfed babies is up to eight times lower than those babies fed liquid formula from BPA-containing bottles (7)
So what exactly happens in my body when I consume BPA?
BPA has a similar shape to estrogen, which is a key hormone for our daily health and function. BPA essentially pretends to be estrogen and even binds to estrogen receptors, causing great confusion for our bodies as this has a ripple effect on our growth, cell repair, fetal development, energy levels, and reproduction. And it doesn’t stop there, BPA can also bind to other hormone receptors altering even more bodily functions and causing hormonal imbalance, which in turn can greatly affect our health in a number of ways.
BPA has already been restricted in the EU, Canada, China, Malaysia and some US states, especially in products for babies and young children. But with all the medical evidence available why are more countries not shutting this down, well… the age-old story of greedy industries who simply squash the truth and confuse their consumers. It has been observed that all the industry-funded studies found no effects of BPA exposure, while 92% of the studies not funded by industry found significant negative effects. (12)