Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that acts like the hormone estrogen in your body, is used to create the epoxy linings of canned food. BPA is a chemical created over 70 years ago as a drug that was intended to promote healthy pregnancies. It was never used as a drug so the food industry saw no problem adding it to a wide range of products, including canned food linings and plastic food containers. Low levels of BPA exposure have been linked to abnormal development of reproductive organs, behavior problems in children, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic changes resulting in diabetes.
BPA is generally used to keep fats from becoming rancid. It is most commonly found in butter, meats, snack foods, cereals, dehydrated potatoes and beer. It is also used to preserve food color and flavor so it’s added directly to many packaging materials.
Eat Your Veggies! Eat Your Veggies!
Just another reason to avoid it if it’s in a box, package, or can! Shop the perimeter of the grocery! It goes a lot faster and you don’t have to curse under your breath at the lame geeky people who spend 10 minutes reading the label of a product and then putting it back. You know they didn’t take the time to read the Oreo label, but when it comes to buying their pasta–they only want whole grain! Check out this excerpt from Mayo Clinic regarding how to avoid BPA products.
- Seeking out BPA-free products. This may not always be easy to do, of course. Some manufacturers label their products as BPA-free. If a product isn’t labeled, keep in mind that most aluminum cans or bottles have linings that contain BPA, while steel bottles or cans don’t. Polycarbonate plastic is generally hard, clear, lightweight plastic. It often has the No. 7 recycling symbol on the bottom.
- Microwave cautiously. The National Toxicology Program advises against microwaving polycarbonate plastics, although the American Chemistry Council says this is safe. The plastics can break down over time, possibly causing BPA to leach into food.
- Wash safely. The National Toxicology Program advises against washing polycarbonate plastics in the dishwasher using harsh detergents, although the American Chemistry Council says this is safe.
- Use alternatives. Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead of plastic containers.
- Cut back on cans. Reduce your use of canned foods since many cans are lined with BPA-containing resin.