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How to reduce BPA exposure

7:11 AM, Jul 28, 2011   |    comments
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BPA is a widely used chemical found in many plastic products including plastic baby bottles, infant formula, reusable water bottles and the lining of canned food.

The health concern is that it mimics estrogen and according to National Toxicology Program report, exposure has been linked to neurological, reproductive and behaviorial problems.

Researchers from Duke University say eating more green leafy vegetables like spinach can block damage from BPA exposure. They say they study suggests that pregnant women who eat dark greens often may block their babies from exposure to extra estrogen.

Read more of my stories on Heather's Natural Health.

A new study from Harvard School of Public Health is the first to show that Bisphenol A found in those popular, hard plastic re-fillable bottles and baby bottles leaches into the food or drink in the container even when NOT heated.

You can read Harvard study here:

I found a great blog called Z Recommends to help you figure out which products do and do not contain BPA.

Click here to see list of recommended products

*The blog lists BPA-free brands and rates them based on "company's overall relevance to parents who are committed to reducing the BPA exposure of children in their lives." All parts of a product must be free of BPA to get a top rating.

Here are some suggestions to reduce your exposure to bisphenol A, or BPA. This is from the Environmental Working Group, a research based, non-profit consumer advocacy group:

Infant formula: All U.S. manufacturers use BPA-based lining on the metal portions of the formula containers. Tests of liquid formulas by FDA and EWG show that BPA leaches into the formula, and EWG calculates that some infant's daily exposures can exceed the toxic doses in animal studies. Choose powdered formula which is more diluted with water, or buy liquid formula in plastic containers.

Studies show canned foods are a predominant source of daily BPA exposure in our lives. Food and drink cans are lined with a BPA-containing plastic. Beverages appear to contain less BPA residues, while canned pasta and soups contain the highest levels. EWG found that the worst foods tested put pregnant women and formula-fed infants within an unacceptable margin of safety to levels that cause harmful effects in laboratory animals. Typical exposures are within a 10 to 100-fold range of the effects that cause harm in a laboratory setting.

Certain plastics are made with BPA and leaches at low levels into food or liquids. Leaching from plastic baby bottles and food containers appears to happen at a much lower level than found in canned foods and baby formula. Nevertheless it is good to take simple precautions.

BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic food containers often marked on the bottom with the letters "PC" recycling label #7.

Not all #7 labeled products are polycarbonate but this is a reasonable guideline for a category of plastics to avoid. Polycarbonate plastics are rigid and transparent and used for sippy cups, baby bottles, food storage, and water bottles. Some polycarbonate water bottles are marketed as 'non-leaching' for minimizing plastic taste or odor, however there is still a possibility that trace amounts of BPA will migrate from these containers, particularly if used to heat liquids.

Safer products and uses: When possible it is best to avoid #7 plastics, especially for children's food. Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on the bottom are safer choices and do not contain BPA. Find baby bottles in glass versions, or those made from the safer plastics including polyamine, polypropylene and polyethylene. Soft or cloudy-colored plastic does not contain BPA. Bottles used to pump and store expressed breast milk by the brand Medela are also labeled BPA-free.

Many metal water bottles are lined with a plastic coating that contains BPA. Look for stainless steel bottles that do not have a plastic liner.

While the levels of BPA that leach from hard plastics is generally low, we recommend avoiding use of plastic containers to heat food in microwaves. Ceramic, glass, and other microwaveable dishware are good alternatives. Avoid using old and scratched plastic bottles.

In the past, some plastic wraps were thought to contain BPA. Brands such as Saran™ promise to be BPA free.

Read advice on buying & preparing baby bottles by clicking here

More stories on BPA

Warning for parents to avoid BPA

Canada calls chemical in plastic dangerous

Heather Van Nest, Heather's Natural Health, 10 Connects

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