BPA and food packaging

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: April 13th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Waiter, there’s BPA in my soup! Wish that spotting BPA in your food was as easy as finding a fly in your soup at a diner? Unfortunately, the chemical is invisible. And while the fly may be downright unappetizing, some say BPA could be harmful to you and your baby’s health. While experts say more research is needed to determine the effects of the chemical on humans, they aren’t ready to dismiss studies that show BPA’s negative effects on animals.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the industrial chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been used in food and beverage packaging… including plastic water bottles, baby bottles and metal-lined cans… since the 1960s. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that exposure to BPA disrupts brain and fetal development in rats and increases their risk of breast and prostate cancers. Similar studies and the growing public attention to the negative side effects of BPA have triggered the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to provide $30 million in funding… which includes support for FDA studies and external grants… to study the chemical.

So, what does the NIH suggest you do to avoid BPA? First, don’t microwave plastic food containers, and avoid plastic containers with the number ‘7’ on the bottom. Don’t wash plastic containers in the dishwasher with harsh detergents. Reduce your use of canned foods by eating fresh or frozen foods, and try to use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, especially for hot food or liquids. Finally, when it comes to your little ones, consider using BPA-free infant formula bottles and toys.