The Dangers of BPA Free Plastics
By now we are all aware of the damaging effects of BPA. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to harden plastics since the 1960’s. BPA has now been removed from the manufacturing of most plastics, but still can be found in products like epoxy that line cans and cashier receipts. BPA is a xenoestrogen and as such has endocrine disrupting properties. It has also shown concerning negative effects on the development prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. After a review of the evidence, the National Toxicology Program at the FDA expressed concern about BPA’s possible effects on the brain and behavior of infants and young children. Some animal studies have shown a possible link between BPA exposure and a later increased risk of cancer.
Industry has now come out with “BPA free” plastic products. At first glance this is fantastic, we can still use our cute sippy cups, plastic storage containers and convenient plastic water bottles.
Not so fast…
Studies are now showing that the once thought to be harmless chemical BPS that has replaced BPA, may be more harmful than BPA itself. University of Calgary scientist Deborah Kurrasch and colleagues have provided evidence that BPA and BPS cause alterations in brain development leading to hyperactivity in Zebrafish. Zebrafish share 80 percent of their genes with humans and are considered a good model for studying human brain development.
These scientists showed that the early abnormal growth of brain cells in the fish embryo specifically affected male hormones, potentially indicating why more boys than girls are diagnosed with certain neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Limited studies have also shown that BPS has estrogenic potential, although much less than BPA
Not to Mention the Phthalates
Even if we could ignore the BPS issue, most plastics still contain phthalates which are known endocrine disruptors. These chemicals make the plastics flexible and are found in everything from food containers to perfume and hair shampoo. These hormones mimic the hormone estrogen and contribute to the total estrogen load in our system.
Top 5 Ways to Protect Yourself from BPA, BPS and Phthalates
- Avoid Plastics – At this point I feel like there are so many negatives to plastic, and so many great alternatives that my advice would be to ditch as much as possible. There are great reusable stainless steel or glass water containers and storage containers. These are available at health food stores, sporting good stores and even some of the big box stores. Watch out for Aluminum water bottles, as many of them use a plastic liner that still can contain BPA. Sigg is the leader in aluminum and is BPA free. I still like the old faithful Klean Kanteen which is stainless steel. You can also look at glass bottles that are protected with a fun and colourful sleeve.
- Avoid Fragrance – If it smells too good to be true, it probably is. Phthalates are often labelled as “fragrance” or “parfum” on many labels. Unless it specifically says phthalate free or no synthetic fragrance you need to assume it has phthalate until proven otherwise.
- Eat Organic – Eat organic and grass-fed produce, meat, and dairy. Phthalates are used in pesticides and herbicides, neither of which are permitted on certified organic produce. Pesticide-treated animal feeds are not allowed in organic meat and dairy production.
- Avoid Processed Foods – yes another reason to avoid processed foods, since they will be exposed to plastics in processing and while being stored in plastic packaging. BPA is still found in the epoxy resin that lines cans. Avoid canned food when possible. Eden Organics is a type of canned food that is BPA free.
- Try your Best – Phthalates are everywhere, and even the most balanced lifestyle will still have phthalate exposure. It can become overwhelming, so try your best! Stress isn’t great for your health either!
To Learn more about plastics and other ways to protect your family from XenoEstrogens join our Vibrant Estrogen Cleanse.
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