pToday was a huge day for BPA awareness! Articles flooded the media about the 91% of Canadians that have BPA in their systems. The scariest part was that children and teens had higher levels than adults. CTV has posted a good article about the findings http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20100816/blood-concentration-study-100816/.
I am hoping to help you understand the harmful effects of BPA as well as other chemicals commonly found in plastics and other eating materials.
Bisphenol A aka BPA is a harmful additive that has been used to manufacture polycarbonate plastic. Polycarbonate plastic is used to make everything from baby bottles to medical devices. Polycarbonate plastic was known for its durability as well as transparency until recently, now it is known for its BPA.
Within the past years the results of many research studies have been hitting the public at an alarming rate. These studies are indicating that BPA has harmful effects on humans. They are reporting that BPA exposure is linked to a large array of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, liver problems and several cancers. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic our bodies’ hormones and create several health problems including obesity, thyroid problems, reproductive problems and neurological issues.
A Harvard study shows that after drinking from polycarbonate plastic water and baby bottles for one week can increase the levels of BPA in the urine up to three times! After reading over 150 reports about the risk of exposing humans to BPA Canada’s Health Minister, Tony Clement, stated that “It’s pretty clear that the highest risk is for newborns and young infants.”
Unfortunately with all we know about BPA, we are learning just as much about other chemicals added into plastics.
Polyvinyl chloride, aka PVC or the poison plastic, often adds Phthalates to make it softer, transparent, durable and flexible. Phthalates, like BPA, are endocrine disruptors. They are easily released into the environment and are the highest threat to fetal and child development. With Phthalates come many of the same health risks of BPA including certain cancers, obesity and diabetes. The Journal of Pediatrics has also published a study indicating low birth weight of infants who were exposed to Phthalates prenatal. Science Daily reports that low birth weight is the leading cause of death of infants in the US.
The poison plastic (PVC) is also known to emit Vinyl Chloride into the environment. Vinyl Chloride is a colorless gas with a mild, sweet odour. Vinyl Chloride is used to create PVC. There are reports dating back to the 1930s about the harmful effects of Vinyl Chloride. It has been known to cause cancer and liver damage. Although Vinyl Chloride is a known carcinogen the harmful risks of exposure are still be studied. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry states, “it has not been proven that vinyl chloride causes birth defects in humans, but studies in animals suggest that vinyl chloride might affect growth and development. Animal studies also suggest that infants and young children might be more susceptible than adults to vinyl chloride-induced cancer.
There are many alternatives to storing food in plastic containers, including: glass, stainless steel, Styrofoam, cardboard or even metal pans. When comparing which material is best to store food experts are suggesting that glass is the safest material to use.