Are you really BPA free?
It’s been five years since the FDA banned the sale of baby bottles containing BPA, a chemical that mimics estrogen, and hence populate a category of toxins broadly called endocrine disruptors. Since then, bottles, food containers and products labeled BPA free have been popping up all over store shelves. However, new research is revealing that the compound which replaced BPA could be just as dangerous.
What is BPA?
BPA (bisphenol-A) is a carbon-based synthetic hardening agent that is added to many commercial products including:
Clear polycarbonate plastics
Carbonless credit card paper receipts
Computer and cell phone casings
Cell phone covers
Water and beverage bottles, plastic dinnerware
Epoxy resins inside cans
PVC water lines
What the research says
Studies from Japan found that women with recurrent miscarriages had about three times as much BPA in their blood as women with successful pregnancies. Another study from Vincent Memorial Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital found that women undergoing fertility treatments who had higher concentrations of BPA in their urine, produced fewer eggs and reduced a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant. In men, it lowers production of testosterone. In 2003 to 2004 the CDC (Center for Disease Control) measured BPA in the urine of 2,517 participants aged six years and older and BPA was found in nearly all the people tested. Obviously, this indicates extensive exposure to BPA in the U.S. population. Additionally, BPA has been linked to ADD/ADHD, autoimmune conditions, neurological development disorders, fibromyalgia, brain fog, asthma, mood disorders, chronic fatigue, and obesity.
What has mainly been used as a substitute for BPA-A is BPA-S (Bisphenol S). Here is a list of all the Bisphenols other than Bisphenol A: Bisphenol AB, Bisphenol AF, Bisphenol B, Bisphenol BP, Bisphenol C, Bisphenol E, Bisphenol F, Bisphenol G, Bisphenol M, Bisphenol S, Bisphenol P, Bisphenol PH, Bisphenol TMC, Bisphenol Z.
BPS was thought to be more resistant to leaching however a 2015 UCLA study published by Oxford Academic analyzed the impact of BPA and BPS on zebrafish embryos and its impact on reproduction. According to Nancy Wayne an endocrinologist, BPS had the same effect as BPA and they both affected the thyroid hormone system. Perhaps most frightening is that a Canadian study involving zebrafish found that BPA and BPS both affected neurodevelopment- such as reading ability, social skills, memory and focus skills. They determined that all bisphenols should be removed from consumer products. In fact, it has been shown that in some cases where BPA-S was substituted for BPA-A, there was 40x the amount of BPS than there would have been of BPA-A.
In an animal study, it showed that BPS rapidly increased the heart rate of female rats and when given doses equivalent to those humans usually experience, BPS caused arrhythmias (heart rhythm abnormalities). The studies author Hong-Sheng Wang said, “there is implied safety in BPA free products, but consumers should be cautious about the assumption that BPA-free means a product is safe.”
Do you have BPA and can you get BPA out of your body?
There are labs that can test your urine for BPA-A. One of them is Genova Diagnostics, a leader in developing tests that support the analytics required of functional medicine. Their test includes BPA and two other environmental toxins, triclosan and 4-nonylphenol. Triclosan and 4-nonylphenol are chemicals found in deodorants, shaving cream, cosmetics, toothpaste, and detergents. The test is 179.00 dollars.
Two probiotics Bifidobacterium breve, and Lactobacillus casei were found to extract BPA from the blood of mammals and were excreted out through the bowels. Black tea, and quercitin can also reduce BPA toxicity. Lastly, sweating from exercise or even better from a sauna would also aid in reducing BPA levels in our bodies.
How to avoid exposure to BPA
Ninety two percent of canned foods are lined with a BPA coating and that doesn’t include aluminum soda cans which are also lined with BPA. Drinking coffee from a plastic lined bag, or brewing it in a plastic coffee maker, or drinking it out of a plastic cup will also expose you to BPA. Storing food in glass rather than plastic is important and avoiding microwaving anything in plastic. Lastly, reduce contact to BPA loaded receipts.
Here are some websites that offer products that are BPA free that I think are worthwhile to avoid you and your family from having exposure to this toxin.
No one is completely bisphenol free. There are too many products sold in the marketplace with the promise of being BPA free, without the public’s understanding of the dangers of replacement biphenols. Blind faith in the FDA’s allowing the seeming ubiquitous infiltration of biphenols entering our food, everyday products and eventually into our bodies should be questioned by all of us. We should all take precautions, especially those products that children may be exposed to on a regular basis. Phthalates (pronounced Thal-ates) which makes plastic soft are also found in many consumer goods. To avoid both, use stainless steel, ceramic, or glass containers for food or beverage containers especially for storing anything hot. Avoiding plastic containers with a 1 or a 7 and choosing those with a 2,4, or 5 will reduce the exposure of biphenols and phthalates. This would be important when buying toys, perfumed shampoo, and lotion. For babies a silicone nipple on a bottle is better than a latex nipple. Ziploc plastic bags are free of BPA, and there are also silicone ice trays and silicone freezer bags that are safe too.