What is BPA?
BPA (bisphenol A) was discovered in the 1950s as a synthetic chemical which could be mixed with other compounds to produce a strong and durable polymer found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.
Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that we use every day to store food and drink, such as water bottles and food containers; epoxy resins can be found in the metal from food containers such as canned food to stop the metal from eroding and breaking.
How does it affect your body?
According to research, not all BPA is appropriately sealed within the plastic and can therefore leak into the food and drink products within the containers. This can happen as a result of heating up plastic in the home - in the microwave, for example - or by putting plastic items into the dishwasher.
BPA is said to have a lot of similarities to the hormone, estrogen, whereby it can bind to estrogen receptors in the body and ultimately affect bodily functions such as cell repair, reproduction and energy production. As a result, some studies have found a number of growing concerns about the effects on the human body as listed below.
May increase the risk of obesity: Can slow down energy production in children, adolescents and adults.
Could affect fertility: Reports suggest that high exposure to BPA could lead to a higher rate of miscarriage and lower egg production / low sperm concentration and sperm count.
Heart rate and type 2 diabetes: Higher amounts of BPS could increase blood pressure and create a resistance to insulin.
Could negatively affect babies and children: Children born to mothers with more BPA can weigh less at birth and exposure in early life can lead to mental health problems such as hyperactivity, anxiety and depression. Other research studies suggest it could also lead to cancer in the breast and prostate in adult life.
Other health considerations and risks: Other findings point towards premature delivery, asthma, immune and brain dysfunction.
The use of BPA has already been restricted in Malaysia, China, EU and Canada, especially for babies and young children; however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.K reports that BPA is still safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods.
Despite this, the National Toxicology Programme (NTP) in the U.S. is still undertaking ongoing research into the effects of BPA on the human body and with the issue of the above findings so far, there are some steps you can take to minimise your exposure to BPA, as follows:
How to reduce your exposure to BPA
Use BPA-free products: Look out for products which are labelled as BPA-free, especially with toys, as babies and children are likely to put these directly into their mouth.
Don’t microwave plastic or put it in the dishwasher: Microwave and store in glass rather than plastic which can break down over time causing BPA to leak into food and drink.
Avoid canned or packaged foods: Many packaged or canned foods are linked with resin, containing BPA.
Drink from glass bottles: Don’t microwave plastic or put it in the dishwasher – microwave and store in glass rather than plastic.
Use alternatives: Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers.
Use a Turtle Can: Turtle Can's innovative eco-friendly, double-walled, vacuum stainless steel drinks bottle can also help to minimise your exposure to BPA.