What Is It and Why Should You be Concerned?
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a hormone-disrupting chemical, which means that it interferes with the way hormones send important messages about development throughout the body. Even tiny amounts of BPA can trigger changes in the body, leading to serious health concerns:
- Exposure to BPA in pregnant women has been linked to genital malformations and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder intheir children.
- BPA mimics the hormone estrogen, and exposure to BPA is linked to breast cancer and early puberty in girls.
- BPA exposure has been linked to diabetes and obesity.
Where Is BPA Found?
BPA is a commonly-used chemical in everyday products; in fact, over 6 billion pounds of BPA are produced each year! BPA is so ubiquitous that it’s been found in the bodies of 93% of Americans tested.
Common products containing BPA include:
- Plastic products like children’s sippy cups, water bottles, food storage containers, and even children’s toys.
- Canned foods, where it’s often used in the linings and leaches into the food inside and then into our bodies.
- Thermal paper receipts from cash registers. And because it rubs off of thermal paper so easily and receipts are often kept in wallets next to dollar bills, BPA is also found on paper money.
Easy Ways to Avoid BPA
- Opt for fresh or frozen foods instead of canned. A 2011 study by the Breast Cancer Fund showed that people decreased the amount of BPA in their bodies by 60% in just three days when they eliminated canned foods and food packaged in plastics from their diet. Another study found that eating one can of soup every day for 5 days increased the BPA in your body by 1200%!
- If you do buy canned food, buy from the few canned food companies now using BPA-free can liners like Westbrae Natural, Hunt’s, Healthy Choice and HJ Heinz.
- Look for plastic containers labeled “BPA-free,” or use alternative containers like glass or stainless steel.
- Store food in glass or ceramic containers instead of plastic.
- Never microwave plastic!
- Refuse receipts when you can. BPA rubs off easily onto hands, and then gets into mouths or eyes.
- Store receipts you need in an envelope separate from your wallet or purse, and wash your hands after handling them.
Help Eliminate BPA for Good
Ask companies to stop using BPA! Call the customer service line listed on your favorite brands and tell the company that you want them to replace BPA with safer alternatives. Tell them that a toxic chemical like BPA doesn’t belong their products!
You can also support BPA-free brands by looking for products that carry a “BPA-free” label. Thanks to consumers like you, lots of companies have changed their ways on this issue, making BPA-free plastic a lot easier to find at the store than even just a few years ago!
Ask lawmakers to ensure that harmful chemicals like BPA aren’t put into our products in the first place. Congress can pass the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, which would require that chemicals be evaluated for safety before they’re placed in products we use everyday. Visit our Making Products Safe page to find out how you can support it!
More Information & Fun Resources
• Download the wallet card Tips for Avoiding BPA