Cheatsheet: Bisphenol A (BPA)
What is it?Bisphenol A is a toxic plastics chemical found in polycarbonate plastic and the resinous lining of food cans.
What are the possible health effects?In April of 2008, the National Toxicology Program raised concerns that exposure to BPA during pregnancy and childhood could impact the developing breast and prostate, hasten puberty, and affect behavior in American children.
How do I minimize my exposure?
- Limit canned foods. BPA leaches into canned food from the lining. When possible, and especially when pregnant or breastfeeding, limit the amount of canned food your family eats. Particularly avoid canned soup, pasta, and infant formula.
- Avoid polycarbonate plastic. Hard, translucent plastic marked #7 is probably polycarbonate, which leaches BPA, especially when heated. Ditch your polycarbonate water bottles in favor of a stainless steel bottle. Don't microwave plastic -- use ceramic or glass instead.
- If you're formula feeding your infant, consider using powdered formulas packaged in non-steel cans. Also, choose baby bottles made from glass or specially-marked plastics that don't leach BPA (like polypropylene or polyethylene).
Where can I learn more?
- For an overview, check out Bisphenol A in your body.
- For lots of in-depth answers to your BPA questions, read Your BPA questions, answered.
- For news and scientific analysis about BPA, visit EWG's bisphenol A page.
- Concerned about your baby's exposure? Take a look at EWG's Guide to Baby-Safe Bottles and Formula.
- For a look at the history of BPA, check out this timeline.
Questions? Comments? Leave 'em here!
Photo by ryanmack.