Bisphenol A or BPA in the news again, phalates, PVC, polyvinyl chloride, food and drink, hormone disruptors, endocrine, banned, chemical plasticizer, plastic labels, number 7, stainless steel, perfume, lotion, gels
Bisphenol A (BPA) has been banned by Canadian health association and will no longer be able to use the chemical in baby bottles. That’s a good start as the first country to ban the toxin. But recent test have show to be BPA positive even in “BPA-free bottles.”
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical plasticizer that is used to harden plastic. Found in hard plastic sports bottles and the lining of food cans. Evidence is there that it can be harmful to newborns, infants, and pregnant mothers. It is found in common consumer baby products such as baby bottles, food and formula cans, sippy cups; it is also found in CD cases, eyeglasses etc.
How do you know if a plastic has it? Food and beverage containers labeled with a recycling symbol with a #7 mostly contain BPA. But not everything with BPA will be labeled with a recycling #7.
How can it be harmful to you and your children and infants? Bisphenol A is a hormone disruptor–meaning it mimics different hormones in the body. Young children and infants have a decreased ability of removing the toxin from the body since their kidney function is less developed than an adult. JAMA article has shown that there is a significant relationship between the BPA and heart disease, diabetes, and liver problems.
What other choice do we have other than Bisphenol A? Obviously we should try to avoid all food and beverage containers with Bisphenol A. And we should instead use glass or even stainless steel refillable drinking bottles that are low in nickel—and decrease the use of hard plastic. Also avoid, or at least decrease use of canned food and try to consume fruits and vegetables that are fresh. Choose glass containers instead of cans.
Another chemical found in plastic is phalates. Phalates are used widely as plasticizers for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics. They are used to increase flexibility and soften plastics. For example, they can be used to soften plastic water bottles and our kid’s toys. Phthalates are also added to perfumes, lotions and hair products like gels, mousses and sprays for longer lasting fragrance. Phalates are found in nail polish to prevent chipping and breaking of nails. Foods that come in contact with plastics also contain phalates. These chemicals also act as hormones disruptors. For example, they can negatively affect thyroid hormones, androgen levels and insulin resistance. In the process of metabolizing phalates, there may be alteration in the thyroid hormones levels in men. Increased exposure to phalates has been shown to be associated with increased insulin resistance and abdominal obesity.
Bisphenol A and phalates are chemicals in the plastic that can leach into the food or drink you consume; even more if you heat your water bottle or put hot drinks in the baby bottle. Also, if you heat your food in plastic containers in the microwave then these chemicals will also leach into your food because there is a high amount of heat applied to food in a short period of time.
Consider the alternatives for better health.
Dr. Dhillon, ND
Link to “Smart Plastics Guide, Healthier Food Uses of Plastics” by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade policy: http://www.healthobservatory.org/library.cfm?refid=102202