When expecting that sweet bundle of joy, everything changes—you eat healthier, avoid harsh chemicals and dyes, switch to moderate exercise, etc. All of these things are done to keep your sweet bundle safe in the womb and have a wonderful future on planet Earth. Yet, so many habits that you believe to be safe or insignificant can have a huge impact on a healthy pregnancy and child. In other words, we have no womb for the unnoticed BPA that lurks in everything.
BPA, a 3-letter abbreviation that we hear in the news and from friends and family, but do we even know what BPA is? The most common response is, “something we aren’t supposed to have.” BPA stands for bisphenol-A, which is the building block of polycarbonate plastic. Since the 1960s, this hard plastic has been used to make numerous plastic items, such as reusable water bottles, compact discs, beverage containers, canned food, auto parts, toys, surprisingly, toilet paper, and even household products that children use to eat with. Before 2012, BPA was used in the production of baby bottles, but a ban was put on that only recently—as in the last 4 years. The reason why this chemical is used in the production of hard plastic is because it is good at what it does—over 6 billion pounds of BPA are produced globally each year. Yet, just because you are good at what you do, does not mean you are good.
Before scientists discovered that BPA created clear plastic, it was used as a synthetic estrogen. With that said, bisphenol-A (BPA) is an endocrine disruptor, which means it is a chemical that interferes with the production, transport, secretion, and functions of natural hormones that are in our bodies. For example, when BPA is consumed unknowingly, it does indeed still act as a synthetic form of estrogen. Research shows that BPA is more toxic to the health of babies and young children, which is why we need to start educating ourselves. Knowledge is power. And as a force, one day we may be able to ban BPA from all plastic.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 95% of adult human urine and 93% of children urine contained BPA. Traces of the chemical have also been found in breast milk, the blood of pregnant women and umbilical cord blood.
How does BPA affect your body?
- Reproductive disorders in women. Research shows that exposure can affect egg maturation in women—short and long term.
- Erectile dysfunction
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Loss of brain cell connections
- Reduce the efficiency of chemotherapy
- Links to breast cancer and testicular cancer
- Behavioral issues
- Hyperactivity in children
Why are children more susceptible to exposure?
Infants and children are more susceptible to exposure because they are unable to eliminate xenobiotic well. Xenobiotics are substances, usually synthetic chemicals, which are foreign to the body. It is important to remember that children are still developing, so the way their bodies eliminate chemicals and waste will be different from an adult. The Endocrine Society recently warned our top scientists of the hormone-twisting effects and the sensitivity children have to them.
How does BPA affect children?
As stated above, BPA mimics hormones and will disrupt the endocrine system that is responsible for proper fetal development. Studies have found that there is a greater risk of reproductive and developmental disorders in children exposed to BPA. In 2010, The President’s Cancer Panel identified over 130 studies that link BPA to breast cancer, obesity, and depression in teenage girls. Currently, the FDA is also expressing concern about the possible side effects on the brain, behavior, and even prostate glands in children and fetuses. Even if you are actively buying BPA-free products for your child, did you know that as a breastfeeding mother, you could still pass your exposure to BPA to your child through breast milk?
Avoid the heat.
Chemicals found in plastic are released 50 times faster when exposed to heat.
What this means: Any form of plastic that does not specifically say BPA-free is in fact harmful to your health. For example, eating hot food with plastic spoons/forks/knives, microwaving food in containers, making coffee in a plastic coffee maker, and even drinking hot liquids from plastic cups are releasing BPA faster into your body.
The dishwasher may not be your helping hand after all.
Plastic utensils, baby plates, baby bowls, baby spoons, and even microwaveable containers can contain BPA. Dishwashers will unlock the chemical. Stick to washing plastic by hand with a mild detergent and cooler water.
Canned goods are no good.
Many canned products are lined with a resin that contains BPA. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences warns the public to avoid canned food due to the unknown long effects of BPA. A recent study found that 18 out of 20 of the most popular canned food products contained BPA. If you have to have canned goods, avoid the acidic items that leach more BPA than low-acidic foods. Opt for glass goods when possible or become your very own chef and start bottling vegetables from the garden! Not only will you save money by bottling your own produce, but also you will be healthier and avoid many other chemicals used to keep food from spoiling. But, when all else fails, only buy soups that are packaged in cardboard that are also recyclable. This will cut down your exposure to BPA.
Save the Planet, skip the plastic.
Have you ever gotten into the car and taken a sip of water from a bottle after it was in the hot car all day? Did the water have a plastic-like taste? When water bottles get hot, they too release BPA and it enters your body faster. Opt for glass, porcelain, or stainless steel drinking tumblers.
Toss the teething toys.
In July of 2012, in response to the American Chemistry Council, the FDA placed a ban on BPA used in children’s bottles and sippy cups. However, this ban was not placed on toys and teethers. If you find that your child is playing with hard plastic that does not have a BPA-free labeled on it, toss it. Also, please remember that if you are holding on to any bottles or toddler cups created before the ban, please throw them away to as they pose a huge risk to our children’s health.
Skip the hand sanitizer when touching your receipt.
Thermal papers that you find at ATMs, cash registers, and any other receipt you might encounter contains BPA that is easily transferred to your skin. If you can deny taking a copy of your receipt, do so, but if you must, handle them quickly. Do not use hand sanitizer until after you have handled the receipt because it increases the absorption of chemicals into your bloodstream.
What Utensils to Toss:
Any plastic that has a “7” or “pc” stamped on the bottom of the container should be thrown away immediately. (PC stands for polycarbonate)
Toss the warped containers.
Toss the plastic utensils, such as spatulas. Opt for stainless steel.
Best to toss most, if not all, plastic that you handle and eat off. Including the plastic dishes that we typically use in the summer because they are hard to break. Those dishes may also contain melamine, which is also toxic.
Remove plastic baby toys and teethers from your house unless they state BPA-free. Remember, children are much more susceptible to the exposure than adults are.
Why Replace with Kangovou:
Kangovou’s mission is to create high quality food-grade stainless steel kid’s dishware products that are BPA, PVC, phthalate, lead, and melamine free.
Each Kangovou set is complete with two food-grade stainless steel plates, two bowls, and a drinking cup. As an added bonus, we include a removable outer jacket and lid.
All of our products are made from quality food-grade, Type 304, 18/8 stainless steel, which means the products are BPA-free, anti-bacterial, light weight, durable, do not rust, clean easily, and is top shelf dishwasher safe.
The Facts About BPA
The fact is BPA is bad for our health. Yet, the question remains on all of our minds—what is the FDA doing to regulate BPA? The FDA currently acknowledges the interest the public is taking in using BPA safely in food packaging. In order to best protect the public from the possible dangers of the chemical, the FDA continues to regulate and approve any company that uses BPA in food production. The safety evaluations focus on three factors: cumulative exposure to food substances that are able to leach into food and beverages, the nature of the packaging, and safe levels of the chemical. The FDA still believes that most products with BPA are safe to use, but why chance what research has not shown? Stick with BPA-free products.
As parents, new or veteran, we strive to provide the best possible life for our children. When it comes to banning BPA, we are a long way away from completely removing it from our lives. However, with our efforts to replace, we, as parents, will be teaching our children the most important thing—living a healthy lifestyle. Our children will continue to learn from us, so let’s make it worth their while!