We live in a plastic world, full of BPA. Over the last 1/2 century, the proportion of our food and beverages that are consumed out of plastic containers has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, the concentrations of plastic-related chemicals in people around the world, even in remote corners, has gone up in parallel.
I’ve written about avoiding plastic before, but the case grows stronger. There are many toxic chemicals in plastic, but one of the most common and frightening is something called “BPA”, short for bisphenol-A. The NY Times ran a story today on it that you can read here entitled “In Feast of Data on BPA Plastic, No Final Answer”. It’s a good article, but the title is too neutral.
There is a compelling case against the use of BPA for everyday foods and drinks. It is water soluble and rapidly moves out of plastic and into foods and drinks. From all evidence, it is a remarkably potent, biologically active chemical that has negative effects on many different tissues and cells in our bodies.
It enhances cancer cell growth. It may cause infertility. It is associated with increased risk of many diseases including Diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Why believe me? You don’t have to. Just Google ‘BPA’ and you’ll come up with millions of websites about its problems. Also you can read the Sigma MSDS (materials safety data sheet) for BPA here. Doesn’t sound like something I want to eat or drink, how about you? The MSDS says when BPA is used in the lab, you should wear a respirator, chemical-resistant gloves, safety goggles, and other protective clothing. If you spill the stuff, you should use the above mentioned safety equipment but now also heavy rubber gloves and rubber boots. Yet, we eat and drink the stuff when we eat or drink out of a plastic container. Wow, frightening. Read the toxicology report on pages 4-9. It is true that the levels of BPA given to the test animals were large, but the effects were nasty and other studies suggest the levels of BPA in our bodies simply from drinking and eating out of plastic containers is high enough to be active.
The only reason corporations use BPA plastic is to make money. There is no reason you should eat and drinks things out of containers made with BPA plastic. You have nothing to gain from exposing yourself to this toxic chemical.
There are simple ways to avoid it. Fortunately almost 100% of plastic containers are stamped with a recycling symbol on the bottom. Flip them over. If there is a 3, 6, or 7 on the bottom, you should not be consuming any food or drink out of that container. If there is a 1 on the bottom, you should avoid eating or drinking out of that container. They are designed for one time use. Unfortunately, 1, 3, 6, and 7 plastic are in almost all water bottles. Any very clear, hard plastic is likely a ‘7’ even if there is no stamp on the bottom and therefore has bucket loads of BPA in it.
You probably know not to leave these plastic bottles in your car so they do not get heated up, but unfortunately they are heated up during the manufacturing process and in delivery trucks. Thus, the water in a “brand new” plastic water bottle is already contaminated with BPA.
The FDA is heading towards more restrictions on the use of BPA and other plastic-related chemicals. I predict that in the next 2-3 years, the use of BPA plastic for foods and drinks will be severely restricted or banned completely in the U.S. and the E.U..
Why wait several years to stop using plastic containing BPA or other nasty chemicals such as styrenes?
There is no good reason to wait. Time to start phasing them out of your life today.