Why I’m Planning on Avoiding Canned Foods – (The Surprising Facts About Bisphenol-A)
I first learned about Bisphenol-A when I was pregnant for the first time and shopping around for the best bottles for my daughter.
What triggered my curiosity and concern was the huge, bold printed assertions slapped on every other baby product that there is “NO BPA!!!” in the bottle / binky / teething toy / whatever.
Clearly BPA in your childs mouth is a bad thing. And no BPA in your childs mouth is a good thing. Sooooo, what IS BPA anyway? And what’s the big deal?
About Bisphenol-A (aka, BPA)
Bisphenol A – more commonly known as BPA – is a chemical found in hard plastics. BPA is used to make countless products. I’m talking everything from dental fillings and sealants to DVDs and CDs to household electronic and sports equipment.
BPA is great!! It’s tough, it’s cheap, it’s uses are endless…. Buuuuuut, it’s not really great to, ya know… eat. Or drink. Or put in your body in any way.
BPA was never intended to be an edible chemical. When consumed, BPA behaves in a similar way to estrogen and other hormones in the human body.
What this means is that BPA is an endocrine disruptor – basically a substance that interferes with the production, secretion, transport, action, function and elimination of natural hormones. When BPA imitates our body’s own hormones, it is hazardous for our health. A 2010 report from the FDA revealed that it’s especially dangerous for babies and young children, causing massive neurological damage (hence all the NO BPA!!! Stickers slapped all over childrens products).
Health Risks of Consuming BPA
According to Medical News Today, some of the health risks of consuming BPA are:
Reproductive Disorders – Scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed that BPA exposure can affect egg maturation in humans. Additionally, Californian researchers found that exposure to bisphenol A may affect the quality of a woman’s eggs retrieved for in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Male Impotence – Dr De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research in Oakland, California, reported in the journal Human Reproduction that BPA exposure may raise the risk of erectile dysfunction. Sexual desire and problems with ejaculation were also linked to BPA exposure among men.
Heart Disease – BPA can cause heart disease, scientists at the University of Cincinnati found.
Type 2 Diabetes – A UK study linked higher levels of urinary BPA to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver-enzyme abnormalities.
Brain Function, Memory and Learning Disruption – US researchers linked BPA exposure to loss of connections between brain cells in primates, potential problems with memory and learning, as well as depression.
Breast Cancer – A Yale School of Medicine study found a possible increase in breast cancer risk among females exposed to BPA and DES (Diethylstilbestrol) in the womb.
Asthma – A US study suggested a link between increasing asthma rates and a particular threshold of BPA.
Neurological Disorders – A US study found an association between neurobehavioral problems in infants and high levels of BPA in their mothers.
Further, BPA is linked to ADHD, obesity, immune system harm, and many other ailments that are currently under scrutiny from medical associations worldwide.
Canned Foods are a Surprising Source of BPA
So avoid plastics with BPA in them, right? Problem solved, yeah? Not entirely. It turns out that BPA can also be found in epoxy resins which are used as coatings inside food cans and water bottles.
Further, studies have shown that BPA especially leaches into canned foods that are acidic, salty and fatty, (like coconut milk, tomatoes, soup, and vegetables). So is the average American experiencing massive levels of BPA exposure? Turns out, the answer is a resounding YES.
Want to hear something scary? A recent CDC report found BPA in the urine of 93% of adults.
A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that families who ate fresh food for three days with no canned food, and using only glass storage containers, experienced a 60% reduction of BPA in their urine. The reductions were even higher (75%) for those with the highest BPA levels at the beginning of the study.
If you want to reduce your exposure to BPA, you have to reduce your consumption of canned foods and bottled drinks as much as possible (unless it is specifically labeled BPA free, of course). This is what I’ve recently decided to do.. I’m going to try to go canned food free for the entire summer. (I’d say “forever”, but I figure setting myself some baby steps is key to success, haha.)
Further, it is recommended you not eat, drink or cook from anything made of plastic that doesn’t specify it’s BPA free. If tossing out all your plastic dishes isn’t an option (as a mum of a toddler who just loooooves to “help” with dishes, I can see how a whole house purge of plastics can be a problem), at the very least you should never microwave foods in plastic containers.
As usual, eating fruits and veggies fresh is best. But if you want to stock up the pantry for ready-to-cook meals, opt for foods that are frozen or stored in glass containers. NO CANS OR PLASTIC CONTAINERS. It’s as easy as that!
Did you know that BPA was found in canned foods? Think you’ll make a change in your diet to avoid these sources of BPA? Share below!