You’re probably familiar with the health dangers associated with exposure to the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) used to manufacture plastics.
This chemical is a polycarbonate used to harden the plastics that make up your water bottles… plates… sunglasses… the lining of canned goods… and hundreds of other products most people use often.
Many people try to avoid products that contain BPA. But evidence suggests that might not be enough. Keep reading for more…
The science and medical communities know that continued exposure to BPA throws your hormones out of whack—and even increases your risk of various types of cancer.
Over the years I’ve reported how scientists found BPA acts as a synthetic form of the estrogen hormone. These researchers found that when human breast cancer cells were exposed to low levels of BPA, the chemical stimulated the production of proteins that prevented cancer cells from being killed by chemotherapy drugs.
Despite the evidence of the health dangers BPA poses, the Food and Drug Administration continues to favor its use. The agency claims that most human bodies can easily process and expel low levels of this chemical.
93 percent had BPA
With this kind of pro-BPA propaganda in place, it’s little wonder that this bizarre chemical has been found in the urine samples of about 93 percent of the American population!
The CDC found detectable BPA levels in 93 percent of over 2,500 urine samples taken in the U.S. from 2003 to 2004. Researchers measured BPA indirectly, based on how many BPA metabolites (BPA breakdown components) were present. Now, a new method can measure BPA and its metabolites directly.
In 2019, researchers used both the old and new methods to examine urine samples from 39 people. To everyone’s surprise, the new method revealed BPA levels nearly 19 times higher, compared to the old method. And the higher the BPA concentration, the more the old method misjudged it.
Environmentalists in an uproar
In efforts to appease some environmental groups and concerned citizens, the FDA has updated its position to express “concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.”
In a show of good faith, the FDA is now:
- Prohibiting BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market
- Prohibiting the use of BPA for the linings of infant formula cans
- Supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings.
Before you breathe a sigh of relief and congratulate the government for protecting the public from a massive health destroyer, first ask this question:
How safe are the alternatives to BPA?
Well, you should know that one study concluded…
Even BPA-free plastics dump toxic chemicals into your food and water!
A study conducted by PlastiPure, a technology company that works on developing safe plastics, performed lab tests on more than 20 top-brand baby bottles and more than 450 plastic food and beverage containers. They bought hundreds of these containers at various retailers including:
- Trader Joe’s
- Whole Foods
- And many other companies
Their tests included deli containers… flexible wraps… hard plastic containers… and plastic bags. According to results published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the researchers cut the plastic items into pieces, then put them in liquids that simulated foods and drinks.
Leach estrogen-mimicking chemicals
They subjected each of the test samples to activities that mimic normal use, such as boiling water, microwaves and ultraviolet light similar to what’s found in sunlight. The solutions were then applied to a type of breast cancer cell that multiplies quickly when exposed to estrogenic chemicals.
The researchers were shocked to find that over 90 percent of these plastic products leached estrogen-mimicking chemicals even BEFORE they were put through stresses!
And after being stressed, just about ALL of the plastics showed estrogenic activity when applied to the cancer cells!
Thousands of chemicals like these
Unlike the researchers in this experiment, most of us may not heat such containers before we consume whatever’s in them, but keep in mind that the food contents may have been hot at the time they were poured in. And of course, microwaving food in plastic containers is common. Even leaving a drink container in the sun may stimulate the release of these chemicals.
And keep in mind, most of the products they tested sported a “BPA free” label. Based on their results, the researchers concluded that there are thousands of possible chemicals that act much like BPA. It’s not just about BPA anymore.
And in some cases, these BPA replacement chemicals produce more estrogenic activity than does BPA itself!
Study author Stuart Yaniger, vice president of research and product development at PlastiPure, told Discovery News that it’s not their intention to send an anti-plastic message.
Dr. Yaniger said that it is very easy to make plastic without estrogenic properties. “Plastics are good, but they can be made safer.”
Amen to that. I have a bad reaction to the gases given off by plastics used in the interiors of cars or in consumer electronic items such as televisions and computers. I don’t have to wait 20 years till they give me cancer – they make me feel sick within minutes.
Some cars and other products made of plastic release these gases, some don’t. It would be simple for the manufacturers to use the non-toxic types of plastic. But they don’t bother.
So how can you protect yourself?
Truth is, it’s darn near impossible to know which plastic products might contain hormone-disrupting chemicals But, there are some things you can do to help minimize your exposure to the fake hormones these chemicals produce.
Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., suggests these protective measures:
- Continue to seek out BPA-free products. If a product isn’t labeled, keep in mind that some, but not all, plastics marked with recycle codes three or seven may be made with BPA. On bottles, the code is usually found on the bottom.
- Avoiding canned foods and drinks (not a bad idea anyway, for a whole list of reasons). Most canned foods are lined with BPA-containing resin.
- Avoid heat. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences 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.
Lastly, and perhaps most effective, simply use alternatives.
Instead of plastic, use glass, porcelain or stainless-steel containers for hot foods and liquids. I’m a regular at a health food café where they serve soup-to-go in plastic containers. Bad idea. I asked them if the containers were rated to stand up to heat. They said yes. All the same, I’m not going to buy carryout soup at that place anymore.