BPA plastics are everywhere, and it turns out the new alternatives to these dangerous chemicals may not be much safer. Here are 13 ways to protect yourself and your family from BPAs…
BPA (bisphenol-A – a toxic compound found in many plastics) has made the news many times in recent years, as health researchers have discovered a number of harmful effects that this compound may have on human health. BPA is found in numerous plastic and personal care products, including the lining in canned foods, baby toys, plastic wraps, water bottles, and even most receipts from cash registers.
Unfortunately, BPA enters our bodies very easily and is a known disruptor to the endocrine system, making it especially dangerous for fetuses, babies, and young children. So far, we know that BPA (and related chemicals) may negatively impact infant development, as well as the reproductive, neurological, and immune systems of both children and adults. It has also been linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, premature births, obesity, and early puberty, among others. It’s nasty stuff!
While a number of substitutes to BPAs have been added to newer plastics to replace them, new studies show that most substitute chemicals are probably no safer than BPAs after all, so simply choosing “BPA-free” plastics doesn’t protect you.
So how can you protect yourself and your family from the dangers of BPAs? Here are 10 tips:
Eat Mostly Fresh Whole Foods
Processed and packaged foods are a common source of BPA and phthalates — particularly cans, but also foods packaged in plastic wrap. Real food is always your best option.
Buy and Use Glass
Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans. Store your food and beverages in glass and use glass containers if heating food in your microwave, as heat tends to increase the release of chemicals from plastic. Be aware that even BPA-free plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad as BPA.
Use glass baby bottles for your infants. Never drink coffee or tea from plastic cups and replace all your plastic cups with glass. Avoid plastic utensil and don’t use drinking water packaged in plastic. Filter your own water and store it in glass containers. Don’t use plastic grocery bags from the store. Bring your own reusable canvas or cloth variety.
Avoid Plastic Wrap
If you are using it to cover a glass container, don’t allow it to touch the food and don’t use it in the microwave.
Be Careful with Cash Register Receipts
If you use a store regularly, encourage the management to switch to BPA-free receipts. I shop at Publix for my food and when I called them about the receipts it turns out they had already switched. Nevertheless, it is wise to limit your contact with all these receipts.
Use Sustainable, Certified Organic, GMO-free Products
Look for products that are earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses and more.
When redoing your home, look for “green,” toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings, the latter of which is another source of phthalates. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one. Don’t use non-stick cookware.
Choose Children’s Toys Carefully
Choose toys made from natural materials to avoid plastic chemicals like phthalates and BPA/BPS, particularly for items your child may be prone to suck or chew on.
Breastfeed for at Least a Year
Breastfeed your baby exclusively if possible, for at least the first year (as you will avoid phthalates exposure from infant formula packaging and plastic bottles/nipples). Breastfeeding has additional advantages for your child as well.
Avoid Manufactured Cleaning Products
Use natural cleaning products, or make your own. You can clean most of your home with white vinegar and baking soda. There are also safer options for dryer sheets and fabric softeners.
Switch to Organic Toiletries
Switch over to organic or all-natural toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.43
Switch Feminine Hygiene and Urinary Incontinence Products
Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) and urinary incontinence products with safer alternatives. While most ingredients in feminine hygiene products are undisclosed, tests suggest they may contain dioxins and petrochemical additives.
Opt for Fragrance-Free
Look for fragrance-free products; phthalates are often used to help the product hold its fragrance longer. Artificial fragrance can also contain dozens of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners, dryer sheets, air fresheners and scented candles for the same reason.
Test Tap Water
Check your home’s tap water for contaminants and filter the water if necessary. You may also want to use an alternative to PVC pipes for your water supply.
Check with the Dentist
Verify any dental sealant used is BPA-, BPS- and BPF-free.