It’s no secret that plastics often contain toxic ingredients that are harmful to both you and the environment. BPA, or bisphenol A, is an industrial chemical. It was first created in 1891 by a Russian chemist. By the 1930s scientists discovered that BPA mimics the effects of the natural hormone estrogen in the human body. Despite this, it has been used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins since the 1960s.
The main problem with BPA is the fact that it isn’t completely stable: in other words, when something is made using BPA, not all of the BPA is used up during the chemical process. This means that there is often leftover BPA in the products it is used to make.
BPA and the FDA
The US Food & Drug Administration currently supports the use of BPA in foods, arguing that it is safe at the current levels being used. The FDA continuously reviews scientific evidence pertaining to the effects of FDA, and believes the available information stills renders BPA as safe. In the fall of 2014, FDA experts in fields including endocrinology and epidemiology completed a four-year review of over three hundred scientific studies on the subject of BPA. No information in the studies was found to compel the FDA to revise its safety assessment pertaining to the use of BPA in food packaging.
However, it must be noted that the FDA is often subject to lobbying by the American chemical industry. It was found that the FDA’s recent statements about the safety of BPA sometimes ignored the review conclusions of its own scientists and made a sweeping generalization that BPA is safe because of the minuscule levels used; not because it is ultimately safe.
The Shift Away from BPA
As a result, many companies involved in the manufacture of plastic containers have replaced BPA with other chemicals that have similar properties. The most popular BPA replacement is bisphenol S, or BPS. It was initially favored as a replacement because it is less prone to leaching: in other words, leftover BPS doesn’t seep into the finished product as much as BPA does.
However, studies show that BPS still manages to make its way into the human body. Nearly 81% of Americans have small amounts of BPS in their urine. The government’s stance on the safety of BPA and BPS relies on the idea that it appears in such tiny amounts it will have little to no effect. This is not true. A 2013 study found that even less than one part per trillion of BPS can interfere with the normal functioning of a cell. Disrupting the cell in this way can lead to a host of metabolic disorders including diabetes, obesity, asthma, birth defects, and even cancer.
Even more worryingly, a 2011 study found that almost all 445 commercial plastics tested leached the aforementioned hormone-mimicking chemicals. Other studies conducted on zebra fish (whose brain development is similar to humans, but much easier to track) also produced disturbing results. The fish were dosed with BPS in similar concentrations to the amount found in a nearby river, and their brain growth exploded by an astounding 240 percent. The tested fish were then observed to be swimming around much faster and more erratically than the untested fish.
The overall problem with the chemicals introduced into manufacturing processes is that there is little to no regulation pertaining to what chemicals can be used. Companies who replaced BPA with BPS thought they were doing the public a favor, but now it’s clear that BPS is just as dangerous.
When it comes to the livelihood of you and your children, it’s difficult to trust the manufacturing techniques of companies who don’t seem to carry out any tests on the chemicals they use. If they had, they would’ve known that BPS is a poor alternative to BPA.
In order to promote the health and wellbeing of you and your children, it’s best to avoid polycarbonate plastics as much as possible, because even if the product is labelled ‘BPA-free’, there’s no way of knowing the effects of the replacement chemical.
Because of the public outcry caused by the dangers of such chemicals, many innovative companies who sell food and drink containers are ditching plastic altogether. Using alternative materials in the manufacture of such items inspires consumers to use products which benefits their own health, as well as the health of the planet.
Most manufacturers of eco-friendly lunchboxes believe that reducing dependence on plastics, opting instead for other environmentally-friendly materials, is a good way to safeguard our health and the health of the ocean. The ocean is particularly susceptible to the leakage of harmful toxins caused by plastic manufacturing processes. This is detrimental to not only the water we drink, but the millions of forms of sea-life. In December 2014, it was calculated that almost 300 thousand tons of plastic littered the surface of the seas around the world. The average American disposes of 185 pounds of plastic every year.
It’s time to look to other alternatives. Kangovou carries several products that are free from all toxins like BPA, phthalates, or melamine that can leach into food stuffs and harm your family’s health. Our air-tight, easy-to-clean Bento Boxes and high-quality, stainless steel Compartment Plates and Flat Plates make lunch a breeze, and your health an afterthought.
Safeguard Lunchtime for Your Family
If you’re concerned about the materials found in lunch-boxes, there are a wide variety of eco-friendly lunchboxes available. We all want the best for our kids, so once you know about the toxins found in standard lunchboxes, why would you use them? It’s time to switch to a lunchbox that will benefit the health of your child and the planet too!