Remember all the noise about Bisphenol A, or BPA, a few years back? In 2011, it was finally made known that traces of BPA are released from plastic containers into the food they carry when heated at high temperatures. That year the European Commission actually banned plastic baby bottles from the market (despite the fact that it was already proven in the late 90s that BPA was leaking from plastic baby bottles-yes, more than a decade before).
BPA is an organic molecule that is needed to manufacture polycarbonate plastics – hard plastics. You can recognize most polycarbonate plastics by looking for the little triangle with the number 7. What many people don’t know is that BPA is actually a synthetic oestrogen (oestrogen is a hormone) that was made to be used as a pharmaceutical hormone all the way back in the 1930s. Because it wasn’t potent enough, it was replaced by another chemical. Scientists quickly found another use for it as the ingredient that makes plastic harder.
Ever since the ban in 2011, stores have been flooded with “BPA-free” products. Unfortunately, it isn’t clear if these products are safe. When you take something out of the manufacturing process, you need to replace it with something else that has the same function. This includes bisphenol S and F, already used on the market but also posing a potential risk to human health. In fact, in an alarming 2011 study, research has shown that most plastic products (not only the ones containing bisphenols) release chemicals that show estrogenic activity. This isn't bad news for the delicate female hormone system only. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been proven to contribute to infertility, premature puberty, endometriosis, and recently to metabolic syndrome and obesity.
You can wait until each and every one of these products is scientifically proven to be harmful or not. You can also tell yourself that if the Commission only banned BPA baby bottles, BPA is not as harmful for you as an adult so you shouldn’t worry. As my brother, who is a chemist, loves to remind me, science needs time and evidence. Scientific studies take time and money (and I would argue that someone needs to have an interest for there to be any study at all). Science also works retrospectively: BPS and BPF are already on the market, and we might (or not!) get a confirmation in 20 years’ time that they are actually harmful. What then? Won’t it be too late?
I truly believe in the “better safe than sorry” principle when it comes to such issues. I do not wait until something is confirmed as toxic, if I can easily stop exposing myself to it now. I work with my clients in reducing their toxic exposure as one of the first steps towards better health. Here are a few easy ways to do so:
- Avoid using plastic tupperware to store your food. Shops are filled with glass containers these days, and they are also less heavy than they used to be. Glass is a much safer option than plastic.
- Avoid plastic cups, bowls and other utensils usually toddlers, especially if you use them with heated food.
- Buy a non-plastic water bottle to keep in your bag. If it is plastic, use it only for non-heated water. Again, stores offer a variety of glass and stainless steel bottles.
- Avoid consuming canned foods (tuna, sardines, but especially tomato sauce because of the acidity) too often. The lining could also contain BPA which might leak to the food.
- Never heat up ready-made-food in plastic containers in the microwave.
Last but not least: eat real foods! There are two ways to tackle this issue: 1) reduce your exposure, and 2) give your body all the power it needs to deal with these chemicals in the best way possible. The power of colorful veggies and fruits full of fiber and amazingly potent phytonutrients shouldn’t be underestimated.
Stay tuned for more blog posts on toxic exposure and how to avoid it!
This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.
Lara Adler, Environmental Toxins Expert: https://www.laraadler.com/