bpa_plastics_2.jpg"BPA leaches from 'safe' products: Tests find chemical after normal heating of 'microwave safe' plastics,"  By Susanne Rust and Meg Kissinger, 11/15/2008. Photo Courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic, the hard, clear plastic used in baby bottles and reusable water bottles. BPA is also in the epoxy resin lining of nearly all metal cans made in the United States - beer cans, soda cans, food cans. Other polycarbonate plastic items may be identified by the letters "PC" or the recycling label #7. (Not all #7 labeled products are polycarbonate, but consumers may want to use this as a guideline and avoid this category of plastics.) BPA may also be found in #3 PVC plastics. Recent tests by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel even found detectable levels of BPA leached from products marketed for infants or billed as "microwave safe"when heated. Yet, while it may not be possible to entirely eliminate BPA in daily life, steps can be taken to limit exposure, particularly by focusing on what you eat or put in your mouth.

  •  The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences includes the following information on its "Since You Asked - Bisphenol A: Questions and Answers about the Draft National Toxicology Program Brief on Bisphenol A" web page:

If I am concerned, what can I do to prevent exposure to bisphenol A?
Some animal studies suggest that infants and children may be the most vulnerable to the effects of BPA. Parents and caregivers, can make the personal choice to reduce exposures of their infants and children to BPA:

* Don't microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from over use at high temperatures.

* Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a #7 on the bottom.

* Reduce your use of canned foods.
   
* When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.

* Use baby bottles that are BPA free.

    Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences - National Institutes of Health

  • For general guidelines on how to reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors, see also the following article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "Chemical Fallout" series:
"Minimize Your Chemical Exposure," Cary Spivak, 12/2/07     

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