As more people become health-conscious, we learn more about what’s in the items we buy. It’s not just about the pesticides used on produce. Sometimes the packaging of food can also introduce chemicals into our foods. For convenience, a lot of our foods are packaged and stored in plastic. But the materials used to create plastics can produce health risks. There are different grades of plastic, some of which are not meant to be reused or reheated after serving their original purpose. Those plastics are typically created using the chemical compound Bisphenol A.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the more dangerous chemical components of the plastics that we use. It’s one of a group of chemicals known as EDCs (Endocrine Disrupting Compounds) that can affect our endocrine system and hormones once ingested. Created in 1891 by a Russian chemist, its chemical effects are similar to those of naturally occurring estrogen. Once it was further developed and used for the creation of durable plastics in the 1950s, it became apparent that it had side effects.
Some of the effects of continuous exposure and handling of BPA include infertility, cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart conditions and negative moods. Once it enters our bodies, BPA can create long-term health conditions that will shape how we live our lives. It is, unfortunately, a chemical found in many of the products that we buy.
The universal nature of BPA in consumer culture makes it very difficult to not buy. It has become such a pervasive part of our lives that the majority of US citizen have noticeable amounts of BPA in their bodies. This is largely because BPA is so easily accessible. It can be found in canned foods, in plastic water bottles and even in the plastic containers used to store food. One of the ways the compound gets released into edible products is through heat. That’s why it’s important not to warm any foods in plastic containers. For this same reason, plastic coffee pots should be avoided. As the coffee is brewed, BPA can slowly leak into your coffee. The same holds true for disposable water bottles that have been left in the sun. However, for plastic water bottles, freezing and defrosting the bottles can also trigger the release of BPA as this process involves a thermal change.
There are also non-food plastics where BPA lurks. Things like shower gels or shampoo bottles, air fresheners, make up pans and even dryer sheets contain amounts of BPA. However, as difficult as it may seem, reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals like BPA will reduce your chances of developing serious illnesses. Despite regulations meant to protect the consumer, BPA is still being widely used in many products.
As more products are mass-produced, the need for convenience over safety increases. Markets are being saturated with consumer-toxins that can be extremely detrimental. BPA is a hazardous chemical because not only can it get into your food and in your body through your mouth but it is also capable of seeping into your skin. Consumer awareness is also on the rise, however. As such, manufacturers have begun marking their products as BPA-free in an effort to be more health conscious.
There has been an alternative to BPA that is being substituted. It is known as BPS (bisphenol-S). Unfortunately, it seems to carry the same, and slightly more, toxic effects as BPA. It will require being an active and watchful consumer to make sure that you are limiting the exposure both you and your family are getting from purchasing products with these chemicals. Making a few changes will bring positive benefits that you experience in your physical and mental health.