Detox 2012: Avoiding BPA (if possible)

This post is about avoiding BPA for your health, but the results of this effort also pay off environmentally…bcuz when you make a conscious effort to reduce your exposure to BPA, hand-in-hand you’re also reducing your consumption of disposable goods. It’s not possible to live a modern lifestyle, free of toxic chemicals, but every little bit helps you and family live a healthier life!

Something……..the EPA is finally, (formally) listing Bisphenol A (BPA) as a “chemical of concern. But, until manufacturers play out their testing on this (toxic) chemical’s impact, it’s up to us to AVOID BPA as much as possible. The more the companies feel it pinching their profits….the faster they’ll move to avoid it as well!

Cutting out BPA altogether is impossible. Unless you move out into the woods somewhere. Even then I’m not sure. Don’t let that cause you to throw your hands in the air and give up!!! You CAN significantly lower exposure for you and your loved ones!!! To do that…you need to know exactly where this toxin is lurking. Here’s a list of common products that contain BPA and how to avoid them. IT’S NOT A COMPLETE LIST BY FAR. PLEASE ADD COMMENTS TO HELP MAKE IT MORE COMPLETE! 

1. Dental Sealants – If you want to protect those pearly whites with some dental bonding or sealants, beware the specter of BPA. A study found that this chemical can leach into saliva following certain dental procedures. But don’t panic – BPA-free alternatives are available; ASK FOR THEM! Personally, I don’t agree with a lot of the products dentists push, or use….including fluoride! But if you’re more mainstream… least INSIST for safer alternatives to the regular junk. There could also be BPA concern for implants, resin fillings, and bonding components.

2. Receipts – You know how most modern receipts have a really smooth texture? That slick coating usually contains (you guessed it) BPA. And it’s no trivial nanogram quantity – we’re talking sizeable amounts that can pass into your skin or consumed when you eat. Studies on exactly how much ends up in the body are forthcoming, but at least this one is easy to avoid: just say no to receipts. You’ll save paper and prevent waste, too.

3. Baby Bottles – Babies are particularly susceptible to harmful effects from BPA, so many parents find the fact that it’s present in some bottles worrisome to say the least. Luckily, however, BPA-free bottles are now widely available and the top six baby bottle makers in the U.S. have agreed to stop using the chemical.

4. Children’s Toys – Nom nom nom! Gotta love all that BPA (not to mention lead and other toxins) that children end up chomping on when they’re innocently playing with their toys. But thanks to all those protective parents out there, the internet is rife with recommendations for BPA-free brands. Check out the Consumer Reports Toy Buying Guide for safe options.

5. Canned Food Liners – Soups, juices, beans and tomatoes. All of these goods and more are heavily tainted with BPA when canned, all because of a protective plastic lining. The Environmental Working Group performed tests on a wide range of goods and found the highest concentrations in infant formula, chicken soup and ravioli. But not all brands use BPA – get a list at Treehugger.

6. Canning Jar Lids – Alas, even when you preserve your own foods, BPA is there to rain on your parade. Canning jar lids have a lining similar to that in tin cans, but there’s usually minimal contact with food. If you want to be extra-careful, seek out glass-lidded canning jars like those made by Weck. THIS IS ALSO A PROBLEM WITH JARRED BABY FOOD! THERE IS NO SAFE, PROCESSED BABY FOOD….NOT EVEN THE ORGANIC BRANDS, UNLESS IS STATES CLEARLY ON THE LABEL “BPA-FREE”. AVOID THINKING THE NEWER POUCH FOODS ARE OKAY….THEY’RE NOT. MAKE YOUR OWN!!!

7. Plastic food containers – They may be convenient, making it easy to store, transport and reheat food, but plastic food containers are one of the biggest sources of BPA. The easiest and most important step you can take is to stop microwaving food in plastic containers. BPA-free stainless steel and glass options are readily available and last longer anyway. Buy glass storage containers, and don’t fill them to the top! The plastic tops contain BPA, that leeches out on contact.  AVOID STYROFOAM CUPS FOR HOT BEVERAGES, AS WELL AS RECYCLABLE PAPER CUPS THAT HAVE PLASTIC LININGS!!!

8. Medical Devices – Could plastic components be leaching BPA into patients’ bodies during heart bypass surgeries and hemodialysis? The FDA has launched a pair of studies to find out. It’s a concern due to the length of time that patients can be exposed to the chemical, but it only affects a small portion of the population so chances are, you don’t have to worry about this one.

9. Take-Out Food Boxes – If you haven’t groaned in frustration already, do it now and get it out of your system.

10. Toilet Paper – Remember those pesky receipts? It turns out, they’re often recycled into toilet paper, BPA and all. But this problem is bigger than the amount that gets transferred to your private bits in the bathroom. Once toilet paper is flushed and processed at waste plants, much of that BPA ends up in surface and groundwater. Does this mean we should ditch recycled toilet paper and use that virgin tree stuff instead? Not necessarily, but it is a tough call. Brings attention to another good question though……………………..How much BPA is turning up in our drinking water?

11. Water Coolers – The large hard plastic bottles used in water coolers are yet another source of BPA. A better (and less wasteful) option is to simply outfit your kitchen faucet with a filter from Brita or PUR, which are BPA-free.

12. Soda Cans – If you’re one of those people with a Diet Coke can permanently glued to your hand, listen up. Bizarre chemical ingredients and artificial sweeteners aren’t the only enemy in that caustic stuff – BPA is found in almost all brands of canned soft drinks. Cut back on your soda intake, and you’ll be better off in more ways than one.

13. Beer and Wine – While there’s no good way to avoid the BPA that is sometimes found in the epoxy lining of wine vats short of giving up wine altogether (crazy talk!), you can skip the BPA-flavored beer by simply choosing bottles over cans. BPA is a bigger risk in canned beer than in soda, because it’s highly soluble in alcohol.

14. Eyewear – If you wear sunglasses or eyeglasses with plastic lenses, you’re probably in constant contact with BPA all day long. It’s tough to tell how much of an impact this could have on health, but if you want to be safe, metal frames are a good bet.

15. Money – Paper or plastic? Both aren’t any good, and are loaded with BPAs

16. Blenders and Food Processors – Since these items are in direct contact with our food, it’s good to know which brands contain BPA and which don’t. Consumer research website Z Recommends has a handy guide, with the Beaba Babycook, the Vita-Mix 5200 blender and Hamilton Beach’s Big Mouth food processors all coming out winners in the “safe” category.

17. Polar Fleece – BPA doesn’t just come in the things we put in our mouths. We easily absorb just as many toxins through our skin. All those wonderful fuzzy garments that we snuggle into for winter….are all made from recycled plastic bottles. I guess this wouldn’t be a problem if the bottles were BPA-free to begin with. Be extra conscious of this when dressing your babies! Their skin is far more absorbent then adults. Avoid those super cute fuzzy footie pajamas, and go for organic fabric! They’ll sleep better in lighter, natural, breathable fabrics. If you do dress in fuzzies….don’t wear them straight against your skin. Put a natural layer between you and the chemicals!

18. Rubbery Footwear – Crocs claim to be PBA free, but beware of off-brands. Also flips flops, and rain boots. Poly-vinyl raincoats for kids while I’m at it! They might not contain BPA, that’s typically found in plastics, but they’re full of thinners, solvents, and equally nasty carcinogens!


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