Bisphenol A (BPA)

This is from a series I wrote on Endocrine Disruptors, which are a chemicals that adversely effect our hormones. For more information read What The Hell is an Endocrine Disruptor.

Bisphenol A is an organic synthetic compound with the chemical formula (CH₃) ₂C (C₆H₄OH)₂. Bisphenol A, or BPA, is an industrial chemical used to make a hard-clear plastic called polycarbonate plastics, resins, epoxy resins, thermal paper and other products since the 1960s. Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, plastic toys, bottle tops, medical equipment, plumbing, including water supply lines. Several dental composites and sealants may also contain BPA. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages; soda, water and juice bottles. If its plastic and it doesn’t say BPA-free, then you can and should assume that it is BPA.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high-production chemical; >5>5 million tons are produced annually worldwide, leading to global distribution in liquid waste discharges leached into sewage, surface waters, sediments, soil, air, wildlife, and humans. The body was made to self detox from foreign agents. Exposure to BPA should be excreted from the body through sweat, urination and defecation in about 6 hours. But this is not happening in this modern era of chronic exposure to toxic substances, not even in the healthiest individuals.

“Human fetal exposure is documented through cord blood (Gerona et al. 2013), maternal blood at delivery (Padmanabhan et al. 2008), fetal tissue, placental tissue, and amniotic fluid measurements (Vandenberg et al. 2010), with concentrations ranging from 0.14 to >250 ng/g>250 ng/g. Potential effects are further compounded by a decreased ability of the human fetus and newborns to metabolize BPA into nonestrogenic forms, such as BPA-glucuronide (Nahar et al. 2013).” ~

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods. However, scientific studies have linked BPA to ailments including asthma, cancer, infertility, low sperm count, genital deformity, heart disease, liver problems, and ADHD. Other research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure. So, when purchasing food storage containers, sports drink bottle (glass or stainless steel) and drinking cups for your kitchen glass, is the safest way you can go.

“A poison kills you,” says Frederick vom Saal, a biology professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia who studies BPA. “A chemical like BPA reprograms your cells and ends up causing a disease in your grandchild that kills him.” BPA can be found in the blood of over 90% of Americans, including new born babies.

BPA is a well-known phthalate, phthalates are found in an astonishing array of products. In personal care items, they’re used to help lubricate other substances, they help lotions penetrate and soften the skin, they help fragrances last longer. They’re also used in toys, electronics (such as personal computers), car-care products, insecticides, and many household products, including adhesives, plastic wrap, plastic containers, flooring, furniture, wallpaper, shower curtains, and other things made of vinyl or PVC. The chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is also used in a wide variety of consumer products, such as resins used to line metal food and beverage containers, thermal paper store receipts, plastic containers, and dental composites.

If you have a young child the first change you should check is their pacifier since they are all made of plastic and your baby has it in its mouth often. When choosing a pacifier, remember to choose silicone over latex, because synthetic latex pacifiers can contain nitrosamines, a known carcinogen. Below is a list of pacifier companies that don’t use phthalates like the ones on the list in this section. For more information read What is in Your Babys Mouth!

Safe Pacifiers
  • Natursutten Natural Rubber Pacifiers 
  • Born Free Pacifiers
  • Happy Baby Silicone Soother
  • RazBaby Keep-it-Kleen Pacifiers
  • Nurture Pure Silicone Pacifier
  • The First Years Gumdrop Pacifiers
  • Hevea Natural Rubber Pacifiers
  • Evenflo Pacifiers: Classic Jewel, Bebek Silicone, Mimi Soft Touch, Mimi Premium and Mimi Neo
  • One-Piece Gerber: NUK Classic, Original, Wildlife, Nature, Genius and Dots
  • Philips Avent Pacifiers: Soothie, Nighttime, Fashion, Freeflow, Bear, Translucent and Contemporary
  • MAM:  Original, Soft, Trends, Pearl, Start, Night, Attitude, Monster, Crystal, and Fairytale
  • Tommee Tippee Pacifiers: Air, Soft and Clear Shield Boogin Head pacifiers

Here’s a list of the most common phthalates, which may come in handy for checking labels:

  • DBP (dibutyl phthalate)
  • DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate)
  • DiNP (diisononyl phthalate)
  • DEP (diethyl phthalate)
  • BBzP (benzyl butyl phthalate)
  • DEHP (di 2-ethylhexl phthalate)
  • DiDP (diisodecyl phthalate)
  • DnHP (di-n-hexyl phthalate)
  • DMP (dimethyl phthalate)
  • DnOP (di-n-octylphthalate)
  • BPA (Bisphenol A)
  • BPS (Bisphenol S)

BPA is an estrogenic chemical, meaning that it mimics estrogen (female hormones). Estrogen plays a key role in everything from bone growth to ovulation to heart function. Too much or too little, particularly in utero or during early childhood, can alter brain and organ development, leading to disease later in life. Elevated estrogen levels generally increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Estrogenic chemicals found in many common products have been linked to a series of problems in humans and animals.

Most of us living in the United States have BPA in our bodies, and they are discovering more and more adverse health effects. The main sources of BPA are found in household products. Today, fewer products contain BPA due to the European Council banning BPA in baby bottles, these companies were going to lose their entire European market so they changed their products. These companies also sell to the United States. Another prime example of how the power is in our pockets. If we refuse to purchase what they are offering they must change for the better to stay in business.

Scientists have tied BPA to ailments including:

Asthma                   ADHD                     Cancer                   Genital deformity

Heart disease       Infertility                Liver problems     Low sperm count

The first time I heard about BPA was in news headlines in 2008 or 2009 when stories about “toxic baby bottles” and “poison” packaging was talked about in the news. I have watched, read and studied many documentaries and studies on this subject since then. I began to slowly replace my plastic ware with BPA free food containers and sports bottles. In recent years, I have read other studies showing some BPA-free products released synthetic estrogens that were more potent than BPA. So, I again began to clean out my cabinets and replace everything with glass food containers, glass and cast iron cook and bake ware. That convenient non-stick cook ware is very toxic especially when it gets scratched.

When Trying to Avoid BPA

Use glass or unlined stainless steel water bottles with no plastic linings. Keep plastic containers labeled that have a 1, 2 or 5 inside the recycle symbol, these do not contain BPA. Replace pre-2013 baby bottles, sippy cups, water bottles and other hard, clear plastic food storage containers and throw away cracked or scratched plastic containers, recycle them if possible. When heating food always use glass, cast iron, stainless steel for liquids is fine (when scratched it can leak nickel), my soup pots are mostly stainless steel. Dispose of plastic containers labeled with a 7 inside the recycle symbol. Although not all 7 plastics contain BPA, 7 is the symbol for BPA and other toxic plastics. Use safer practices when handling receipts, wash your hands after handling receipts. Consider putting gloves on before handling a lot of receipts (when doing taxes or bookkeeping, changing tape in machines). Anything that touches these receipts becomes contaminated with BPA, it will immediately soak into your skin. I know this and yet I still touch receipts all the time, I have been forcing myself into the habit of saying “can you put the receipt in the bag please”. And if you must use plastic look for the “BPA-free” label.

Products that may contain BPA:

  • Baby bottles (before 2013)
  • Paper Money
  • Paper receipts
  • Pacifiers
  • Plastic baby bottle liners
  • Plastic bags used to store breast milk
  • Sippy cups
  • Plastic teething toys
  • Plastic plates, forks and spoons designed for toddlers
  • Canned juices
  • Canned foods
  • Water bottles
  • Soda and beer cans
  • Plastic food containers
  • Plastic Sports Bottles
  • Plastic toys
  • Cell phone covers
  • Plastic spatulas
  • Plastic containers containing food
  • Plastic supplement containers

Bisphenol S (BPS)

Endocrine Disruptor

This is another popular palate what they typically use in place of BPA, it was thought to be more resistant to leaching of chemicals but studies have shown that it is just as harmful and that nearly 81% of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their blood stream. So, when you see BPA-free on a label don’t be fooled into thinking it is safe because what they aren’t telling you is that it probably has BPS in it instead. And is causing just as much harm to your cells.

Tetra-Pak (trade name of carton containers)

Endocrine Disruptor

Tetra Pak—the aseptic cardboard-based cartons used for milk, juice boxes, coconut water often gets a free pass in most people’s minds because it isn’t BPA.

They look like milk cartons so most of us assume they are harmless and a better choice compared to BPA lined cans. Well I thought the same things until I cut one of them open and found a silver lining (aluminum) with a film over it. I researched the company and found out exactly how they are made

Stereotypically Tetra Pak fluids are packed using UHT (ultra-high-temperature) processing for extreme shelf-stability. So you have to ask yourself how much nutrients is left after they use UHT and that hot product is now absorbing the plastic lining that is on top of aluminum. 

It’s cardboard reinforced with aluminum, with polyethylene (PET plastic, like that used for the #1 water bottles) coating the inside (in contact with the product) and the outside.

Essentially the inside of this cute little box is equal to a #1 plastic bottle, with aluminum underneath. I won’t drink water out of those bottles because it’s “estrogen water”; the plastic is known to leach xenoestrogens into the water.

You may be asking yourself what the hell are xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are a type of xenohormone that imitates estrogen. They can be either synthetic or natural chemical compounds (like soy)

A study from 2008 suggests that estrogens leached into mineral water from both plastic (PET) bottles and Tetra- Pak. Tetra- Pak may be an even worse culprit; the water packaged in Tetra-Pak had higher levels than that in the plastic bottles.

If it seems too good to be true it usually is. You must stop and think HOW does this product have such a long shelf life and how is my health going to be effected.

Resources of Information on BPA

BPA replacements in plastics cause reproductive problems in lab mice

BPA and Other Gender Bending Plastics

Maternal and female fetal testosterone levels are associated with maternal age and gestational weight gain

Dr. Frederick vom Saal : On the Dangers of BPA (Bisphenol A)

What is BPA, and what are the concerns about BPA?

Interactive Effects of Perinatal BPA or DES and Adult Testosterone and Estradiol Exposure on Adult Urethral Obstruction and Bladder, Kidney, and Prostate Pathology in Male Mice

Reduced body weight at weaning followed by increased post-weaning growth rate interacts with part-per-trillion fetal serum concentrations of bisphenol A (BPA) to impair glucose tolerance in male mice

Evaluation of Bisphenol A (BPA) Exposures on Prostate Stem Cell Homeostasis and Prostate Cancer Risk in the NCTR-Sprague-Dawley Rat: An NIEHS/FDA CLARITY-BPA Consortium Study

Impact of Maternal and Paternal Preconception Urinary Bisphenol A (BPA) and Bisphenol S (BPS) Concentrations on Offspring Birth Size

BPA linked to low birth weight in baby girls.

BPA found in 90% of newborns

Disclaimer: The strategies, suggestions, and techniques expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The Author, Kira Miller, is not rendering medical advice nor is she trying to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease, condition, illness or injury.

If you are under the care of a physician it is imperative that you consult their advice before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.

Kira Miller claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss or damage alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application or interpretation of the material presented here.

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