To understand the topic, we must understand what is BPA and where did the term BPA-Free come from.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is utilized in large quantities primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.
BPA has been used in food packaging since the 1960s. The end-product from the BPA usage finds its way into medical devices, dental sealants, water bottles (polycarbonate based).
Also, BPA is used as a lining component in metal can coatings, which protect the food from directly contacting metal surfaces.
Is BPA Safe?
BPA has been restricted in the EU, Canada, China, and Malaysia especially for kids below the age of 10.
BPA can lead to reproductary challenges in men and female. The chances of erectile dysfunction in men and miscarriage in women increase with the presence of BPA or BPA linked compounds in their blood stream.
The USFDA amended its regulations to stop the usage of BPA-based polycarbonate resins in baby bottles and sippy cups(2012) and BPA-based epoxy resins as coatings in packaging for infant formula(2013).
Also, the USFDA through its various studies found that BPA in low doses can be easily digested and excreted from the body.
What is BPA-Free and Is it Safe?
BPA-free products are the one’s that do not utilize BPA but instead use bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF).
BPS is used wherever the replacement of BPA is required. Owing to its light weight, anti-corrosive properties and relative stability to heat and light, they are preferred in industrial production of epoxy and plastics.
BPF(like BPS) is a substitute for BPA. It is used to increase the thickness and durability of materials especially epoxy and plastics.
BPA and BPF are found in 50-70% of the household waste. Also, when they are recycled, they are re-introduced into the system.
Like BPA, both BPF & BPA, have the abilities to mimic estrogen and play havoc by altering the endocrine system in an unborn child. It has found its link to multiple health disorders – cardiovascular, metabolic & skeletal development.
According to a Swedish Study, prenatal exposure to BPF is associated with impaired cognitive functions in the child.
Thus, BPA-free bottles may not be an adequate solution.
Plastic items labeled with the recycling numbers 3 and 7 or the letters “PC” likely contain BPA, BPS, or BPF.
What should we do?
- Avoid heating of containers in microwave which can lead to deterioration of the plastic and seeping/leaching of the BPA or its substitutes in the food
- Avoid using canned food
- Utilize substitutes that existed before plastic made inroads – Glass, Porcelain or Stainless Steel. Utilize them as much as possible as they do not degrade or seep/leach into our food or liquids
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