What is BPA and how does it affect our health? Should we be worried?

BPA stands for bisphenol A. It is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. 

What’s the problem with BPA?

BPA enters the body via the foods we eat, particularly canned food, food served hot in plastic containers, plastic baby bottles and plastic water bottles.

  • BPA has been proved to act as a hormone disruptor, meaning that it mimics the structure and function of the hormone estrogen in the body.
  • Some research has linked BPA with thyroid problems.
  • BPA levels in the body have been linked with low sperm count in men, and low egg quality in women and may negatively affect many aspects of fertility.
  • Exposure to BPA in the early stages of fetal and childhood development has been found to increase the risk of developing hormone related cancers in later life such as breast and prostate cancer.
  • High BPA levels have also been linked to increasing the risk of heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.

Tips for minimizing BPA exposure:

  • Avoid plastic food and drink containers. Use glass, pyrex, porcelain, ceramic, or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead.
  • Use glass or stainless steel baby bottles.
  • Avoid heat for plastic containers. Do not use plastic containers in microwave ovens or in dishwashers, as the plastic may break down over time and allow BPA to leach into foods.
  • Avoid completely the use of canned foods, since most cans are lined with BPA-containing resin. Canned food is generally heated to 110 ᵒC (230 ᵒF) during the sterilizing process, resulting in BPA diffusing into the food. Examples are tinned fish, such as tuna and sardines, tinned soups, and tined fruits and vegetables.
  • Look for BPA-free products.More and more BPA-free products have come to market. If a product isn’t labeled, keep in mind that some, but not all, plastics marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.