6 Ways to Minimize your Family’s BPA Exposure (+FDA Update)

The FDA has an update for consumers on its efforts to determine the safety of BPA (Bisphenol-A), an industrial chemical unfortunately found in many plastic bottles and cans containing foods and beverages. This is happening less than 2 years after the FDA declared BPA was safe, back in August 2008.

The safety approval was given despite the over 200 animal studies that have linked BPA consumption in tiny amounts to a host of reproductive problems, brain damage, immune deficiencies, metabolic abnormalities, and behavioral oddities like hyperactivity, learning deficits and reduced maternal willingness to nurse offspring.

In December 2008, the FDA’s own advisory board accused the FDA of weighing 2 industry-backed studies much more heavily than the hundreds of other independent studies. The FDA’s excuse: all the other studies did not meet the FDA’s guidelines for determining safety for human consumption, did not provide raw data, and a host of other “reasons”.

What caused the FDA to change it mind now an reopen the “BPA Files”? Possible answers: a new administration, a BPA ban in Canada in 2008, and / or general public outcry.

At a press event yesterday, an FDA official diplomatically said the drug agency “had become more receptive to new techniques of studying the safety of chemicals.”

What you need to know:

7 billion pounds of BPA are produced annually, for use in food packaging, PVC water pipes, electronics, and more.All of us are exposed to tiny amounts, whether drinking canned juice, milk from a baby-bottle, or any other product sold in a plastic container or a can.

BPA is a chemical compound. It is used as a building block of  polymers and polycarbonates that are found in plastic bottles and cans. BPA behaves like the hormone estrogen once it enters the body and disturbs the normal working of certain genes. Estrogen mimicking chemicals like BPA are potentially harmful even at very low doses, such as those found in plastic bottles and cans.

In March 2009, six manufacturers announced that they would voluntarily stop manufacturing bottles with BPA. Playtex Products, Gerber, Evenflo, Avent America, Dr. Brown and Disney First Years decided to so in order to preempt legal action being considered at the time by several state attorney generals.

What to do at the supermarket and home to decrease your exposure:

  1. If you have a baby or toddler, purchase BPA free plastic bottles.
  2. Throw away scratched or worn bottles or cups made with BPA , because the chemical can leak from the scratches.
  3. Don’t put hot liquids in plastic cups or bottles containing BPA.
  4. If microwaving baby formula, do so in a glass bottle.
  5. Opt for fresh or frozen products rather than canned.
  6. Drink tap instead of bottled water.

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