In 2008, the possible health risks of Bisphenol A (BPA) — a common chemical in plastic — made headlines. Parents were alarmed, pediatricians flooded with questions, and stores quickly sold-out of BPA-free bottles and sippy cups. Where do things stand now? Have plastic manufacturers changed their practices? How careful does a parent need to be when it comes to plastics and BPA? Here’s the latest information we have about possible BPA risks.

Some 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.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods. This assessment is based on review of hundreds of studies.

How could BPA affect the body? Here are some areas of concern: Hormone levels, Brain and behavior problems, Cancer, Heart problems, obesity, diabetes and ADHD. Worse still is the increased risks to children.

The FDA is continuing its review of BPA, including supporting ongoing research. In the meantime, if you’re concerned about BPA, you can take these steps to reduce your exposure:

  • Use BPA-free products. Manufacturers are creating more and more BPA-free products.
  • Cut back on cans. Reduce your use of canned foods since most cans are lined with BPA-containing resin.
  • Avoid heat. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, advises against microwaving polycarbonate plastics or putting them in the dishwasher, because the plastic may break down over time and allow BPA to leach into foods.
  • Use alternatives. Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead of plastic containers.

References:

Bauer, B. A. (n.d.). What is BPA, and what are the concerns about BPA? Healthy Lifestyle: Nutrition and healthy eating. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/bpa/faq-20058331

About BPA: Bisphenol A Frequently asked questions. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bisphenol-a.org/about/faq.html?gclid=CjwKEAiA_p_FBRCRi_mW5Myl4S0SJAAkezZrK-KdtjqHRK3DXcmG5Z5_t88NmoAQsJYZ6aAGE9oZuhoCGuLw_wcB#j

Bisphenol A (BPA) initiatives. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/programs/endocrine/bpa_initiatives/index.cfm

The facts about bisphenol A. (n.d.). WebMD: Children’s Health. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/children/bpa#1