Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why BPA is BAD

Even if you aren't sure why, you've probably seen and heard enough to know that lots of people are against BPA. But what is BPA? And what makes it worrisome? Like many others, I didn't understand what all the fuss was about until recently. I wasn't unaware, just under-informed. 
BPA is often found in plastic bottles used
for bottled water.
Photo courtesy of

BPA is short for a manmade chemical called bisphenol A that is often found in plastic and can linings. A derivative of petroleum, BPA has been used in food and drink containers since the 1960s and was used in other products as far back as 1910. 

The corporations that use BPA have performed trials that showed BPA to be harmless to humans. Remember, these tests were conducted by the companies that use the chemical in their products. Unfortunately, independent testing on several continents over the last 20 years has shown otherwise time and time again. 

When BPA is exposed to heat, it breaks down and the molecules that break off become a hormone that mimics estrogen. There are other chemicals that do the same thing, but BPA is one of the stronger and more common ones. Estrogen in normal doses is well and fine in humans. But we can "overdose" on estrogen. Unfortunately, estrogen never leaves the body and neither do these estrogen copycats. In high concentrations estrogen hormones cause cancers to form. It doesn't stop there, either. In men, high estrogen levels mean lower sperm count. In babies and children, high doses of estrogen can cause abnormalities of the reproductive system and early puberty. Human trials have already been done and the results have been conclusive: BPA is BAD. 

So why is BPA still out there? Why is still found in food and beverage containers, storage containers, children's toys, and more? Well, it turns out the FDA agrees that BPA is unsafe. Apparently there is an old and outdated law that states that BPA and certain other chemicals are not under the jurisdiction of the FDA because at the time the law was written these chemicals were deemed harmless. 

Look for thess and similar labels
when shopping for plastic and/or
canned goods.
Enough people are alarmed that companies are starting to listen, even without regulations. If you look around next time you buy anything plastic, notice that many companies now offer new BPA-free versions of their old products. While glass is often a better option, be sure to choose BPA-free when you do buy plastic. If you have plastics at home that you are unsure about, consider replacing them and definitely don't use them for hot food or drinks or in the microwave. 

We have been transitioning to BPA-free in our home. All new plastics are BPA-free and we use glass whenever possible. No plastic containers are used for anything hot unless we are sure they are BPA free. Eventually we plan to get rid of all of our older plastic, but finances require a slow transition. I am loving the new options that are available in glass, such as sports bottles and straws. We also have some new stainless steel food storage containers with BPA-free plastic lids. 

Have you started going BPA-free at home? What steps have you taken? Or are you just discovering the effects of this chemical? Maybe you know something I've left out. All comments are welcomed and cherished at Mama Making Changes so please leave your two cents worth below!


  1. BPA is in so many things that most people don't even know about - like ATM receipts. We need to do more education so people know how prevalent it is. Thanks for posting.

    1. I had no idea about the ATM receipts! Thanks so much for sharing that!

  2. Great article! At our house, we refill glass bottles for our drinking bottles. Anything we can recyle or reuse as a drinking bottle that has a lid - from empty glass oil jars and starbucks glass bottles that my husband brings home after he finishes it, to quart or pint mason jars.

    1. That's a great idea! We reuse lots of jars, smaller ones for drinking and larger ones as containers. I never thought to reuse those Starbucks bottles, though!