BPA an endocrine disruptor which mimics your body‘s natural hormones. Hormones serve different functions throughout your body. BPA has been shown to affect reproduction and brain development.
The increased release of BPA continued even after the hot liquid was removed, meaning that even washing plastic cups or bottles in a hot dishwasher could lead to increased BPA content in cold drinks.
According to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study, BPA was detected in the urine of 95 percent of the people tested. Scientists have also measured BPA in the blood, umbilical cord and placenta of pregnant women, finding all were at levels that have demonstrated altered fetal development in animals.
Clearly, our widespread use and reliance on the convenience of plastic products is now catching up with us.
Fortunately, the reality is starting to hit home, and changes can be seen here and there. One large Canadian retailer decided to remove the wildly popular Nalgene plastic water containers from their stores, for example, due to concerns about BPA.
What’s the Problem With BPA?
BPA mimics the sex hormone estradiol (estrogen), which can trigger major changes in your body. Of 115 published animal studies, 81 percent found significant effects from even low-level exposure to BPA.
Interestingly enough, NONE of the 11 industry-funded studies found any significant effects, whereas 90 percent of the government-funded studies did. Yet another piece of “coincidental evidence” that shows the power of money. Always check who funded the study before drawing your final conclusions about the results.
According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Smart Plastics Guide, adverse effects from BPA exposure include:
- Structural damage to your brain
- Hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness, and impaired learning
- Increased fat formation and risk of obesity
- Altered immune function
- Early puberty, stimulation of mammary gland development, disrupted reproductive cycles, and ovarian dysfunction
- Changes in gender-specific behavior, and abnormal sexual behavior
- Stimulation of prostate cancer cells
- Increased prostate size, and decreased sperm production
Who’s at Greatest Risk?
According to Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the sharpest warning goes out to women of childbearing age. Early-life exposure can lead to genetic damage, as BPA causes chromosomal errors at even low levels.
These chromosomal errors in the developing fetus can also lead to spontaneous miscarriages.
BPA caught researchers’ attention after normal mice began to display uncommon genetic abnormalities. The defects were linked to plastic cages and water bottles that had been cleaned with a harsh detergent, causing BPA to leach out of the plastic. After determining how much BPA the mice had been exposed to, they realized that even an extremely small dose of 20 parts per billion daily, for just five to seven days, was enough to produce effects.
Heat Releases More Toxin
The problem with BPA is that it doesn’t stay put in the plastic. It leeches into whatever food or beverage you put in a plastic container, canned goods, or plastic baby bottle.
And if you microwave the containers or bottles, or put hot liquids or foods into them, you increase the amount of BPA that leaches into your food or drink 55 times faster than when used cold!
Hopefully that’s enough food for thought to help you decide it’s time to switch that plastic coffee mug you lug around to something else.
10 Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to BPA
To be fair, you probably can’t completely eliminate your exposure to BPA any longer, since it’s likely in our air, water, and food, too, but you can certainly reduce it.
The following tips will not only reduce your exposure to BPA, but also to many of the other dangerous plastics chemicals as well.
1. Only use glass baby bottles and dishes for your baby
2. Give your baby natural fabric toys instead of plastic ones
3. Store your food and beverages in glass -- NOT plastic -- containers
4. IF you choose to use a microwave, don’t microwave food in a plastic container
5. Stop buying and consuming canned foods and drinks
6. Avoid using plastic wrap (and never microwave anything covered in it)
7. Get rid of your plastic dishes and cups, and replace them with glass varieties
8. If you opt to use plastic kitchenware, at least get rid of the older, scratched-up varieties, avoid putting them in the dishwasher, and don’t wash them with harsh detergents, as these things can cause more chemicals to leach into your food
9. Avoid using bottled water; filter your own using a reverse osmosis filter instead
10. Before allowing a dental sealant to be applied to you, or your children’s teeth, ask your dentist to verify that it does not contain BPA
In the event that you do opt to use plastic containers for your food, be sure to avoid those marked on the bottom with the recycling label No. 7, (which looks like this
Containers marked with the recycling labels No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 do not contain BPA, but they do contain other unsavory chemicals that you’re best off avoiding as well. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Smart Plastics Guide offers more detailed descriptions of the most commonly occurring chemicals in plastic products. They also offer this handy reminder:
"With your food, use 4, 5, 1 and 2. All the rest aren't good for you."
It’s Not Too Late – Detoxify!
One point worth noting is that BPA supposedly does not hang around in your body long after you’re exposed. Yet, this chemical is so pervasive that scientists believe people are simply being continually exposed to it from food, air, dust, and even just by touching items that contain BPA.
Therefore, in addition to limiting your continual exposure, a detox program is a good idea. Especially if you’re planning a pregnancy.
There are numerous methods that can be used to help detoxify your body, varying in cost, time and efficacy. I tend to gravitate toward treatments that are simple, effective, inexpensive, and don't involve taking a lot of supplements.
The treatments below fit all of these criteria, and can be incorporated into your daily life. They all work to support your body's natural detoxification systems, namely your digestive system, liver, kidneys, lungs and skin.
- Stimulate blood flow through your organs of elimination. Constitutional hydrotherapy treatments increase blood flow through your liver and kidneys, enhancing their filtering effects.
- Increase toxin elimination through your skin. Use a sauna regularly to increase how much, how often, and how deeply you sweat.
- Give your lungs some extra support. By practicing deep breathing exercises you can greatly enhance this vital detoxification mechanism.
- Stimulate lymphatic flow. Dry skin brushing and exercise are two of the only ways to increase the flow of the lymphatic system, your body's garbage collector.
- Maintain optimal levels of beneficial intestinal flora. The best ways to accomplish this are by incorporating fermented foods, such as natto or natural kefir into your diet.