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Tip of the Month: REALLY Going BPA-Free

Posted March 10th, 2014


Alex head shot

Alex Scranton

Director of Science
and Research

For years, we’ve been told to avoid the hormone-disrupting chemical BPA by looking for the “BPA-Free” sticker on plastics or other products. But new research is showing that the chemicals that companies are replacing BPA with may be just as toxic, if not even more harmful. Check out these Mother Jones and San Francisco Chronicle articles for more.

How is this possible?! Unfortunately, our current chemical policy doesn’t require companies to prove that chemicals they use are safe before they’re placed into products we use every day, which means that companies can simply replace one toxic chemical with another.

Until we can be sure that the chemicals that companies are replacing BPA with are safe, WVE recommends adopting a precautionary principle and avoiding plastics, canned foods (which may be lined with BPA), and receipts completely when you can.

Here are our tips for really going BPA-free:

  • 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%!
  • Look for products packaged in glass or lined cardboard instead of cans.
  • Store food in glass or ceramic containers instead of plastic.
  • Use stainless steel or glass water bottles instead of plastic bottles.
  • Refuse receipts when you don’t need them.  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.
  • Avoid plastic where possible or look for plastics with the recycle symbol #5, which signifies polypropylene, a safer plastic.

Want more ideas to detox your life? Check out our Tip of the Month archive!


Tip of the Month: Safer Sexuality This Valentine’s Day

Posted February 10th, 2014


Alex head shot

Alex Scranton

Director of Science
& Research

Perhaps inspired by our Detox the Box campaign, our staff has been fielding lots of questions about the safety of chemicals in other types of intimate products. So, just in time for Valentine’s Day (and since you asked!), we thought we’d share some tips on non-toxic love!

Sadly, but not surprisingly, it turns out there can be lots of harmful and toxic chemicals in products intended for adult fun between the sheets. While little research has been done on U.S. products, the EPA in Denmark conducted a study that found several toxic chemicals like phthalates, BPA and toluene in sex toys, as well as numerous irritants and allergens in “pleasure gels.” Similar to cosmetics and feminine products, these types of products are poorly regulated, often labeled “for external use only” (even though that’s not how they are being used). Intimate products need greater scrutiny to assure the public’s safety.

Meanwhile, here are some tips on how you and your sweetheart can play more safely this V-Day:

  • Purchase toys made of 100 percent silicone (a fairly inert substance). These are less likely to have toxic additives than toys made from other types of plastics.
  • Look for simple water-based or silicone-based lubricants.
  • Avoid the products with extra bells and whistles like “warming” or “tingling” or “added sensation”—these terms mean added chemicals, many of which could be questionable for vaginal health.

Want more non-toxic tips? Check out our Tip of the Month archive!

Avoiding BPA: Adventures With Your Slow Cooker

Posted January 13th, 2012

Read Alex’s response to questions about lead in slow cookers.

You’ve heard about BPA in canned foods, which is linked to breast cancer, early puberty in girls, diabetes, obesity, and a host of other problems. But how much BPA really gets into your body from eating canned food?

Well, a recent study found that people who ate one can of soup every day for five days increased the levels of BPA in their bodies by 1000% over people who ate freshly made soup for the same five days.

Yikes! We know canned soup is convenient – for a quick lunch, or to add to a casserole, it’s hard to beat. But until canned food manufacturers get it together to replace the BPA in linings, we ought to look elsewhere.

So this month we hope you will join us on a slow cooker adventure – learning from each other how to make fresh soups that are tasty, healthy, budget-friendly and best of all EASY! We’ll start you off with some recipes, and we’d like you to share your favorite recipe below! We’ll compile the recipes to share with our members at the end of the month.

Here are some slow cooker tips, for those of you who are new to slow cooking (or dusting the cobwebs off an old pot!)

Split Pea and Ham Soup

Look for organic ingredients when possible

•    2 cups dried split peas
•    8 cups water
•    2 cups diced ham
•    2 potatoes, chopped
•    2 ribs celery, chopped
•    2 carrots, sliced
•    1 onion, diced
•    2 cloves garlic, minced
•    2 bay leaves

1. In a slow cooker, combine the peas, water, ham, carrot, celery, potatoes, bay leaves, garlic and onion.
2. Cover, and cook on High for 4 to 5 hours. Remove bay leaves before ladling into bowls.
(Note – for a vegetarian option, omit the ham and replace the water with 8 cups vegetable stock.)

Chicken Noodle Soup

Look for organic ingredients when possible

•    8 cup(s) water
•    4 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
•    4 medium stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
•    1 small onion, chopped
•    2 bay leaves
•    1/2 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
•    Salt
•    Ground black pepper
•    2 -3 pounds chicken pieces (legs, thighs, breast etc)
•    3 cup(s) egg noodles, uncooked

1. In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl, combine water, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, thyme, 4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken pieces on top of vegetables. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook as manufacturer directs on low setting 8 to 10 hours or on high setting 4 to 5 hours.
2. Transfer chicken to cutting board. Discard bay leaves. Add noodles to slow-cooker bowl; cover with lid and cook (on low or high) 20 minutes.
3. While noodles cook, remove and discard skin, fat, and bones from chicken; shred meat.
4. Skim fat from soup and discard. Return chicken to soup to serve.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite recipe?