While shopping for household goods, a glance at a BPA-free product generally makes us feel like we’re purchasing a safer product, or so it seems. Many organic canned goods and water bottles now boast the label, along with several “eco-friendly” plastics and other household items. But is BPA-free enough? Apparently not anymore, according to new research on the ever popular chemical, BPA.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol-A is an industrial chemical that has been linked to multiple health issues ranging from hormone disorders to neurological problems, and even fertility. Since, it’s been removed from the manufacturing process of a variety of products. Most consumers see the label and feel better (and safer) about their purchases while a few don’t seem to see the point in spending a few extra cents or dollars on canned or plastic goods. BPA is found on plastics, resins, coffee cups, and thermal cash receipts. Because we’re just now learning the effects of the industrialized, chemical ingredient, we’re now aware that much more exists than just BPA alone, especially when it’s removed from products and substituted with something else.
The Evil BPA-Free Substitutes
The problem with taking BPA out of a product is that something else potentially much worse is substituted in its place. Compare this process to how the fat-free label years ago caused an increase in the amount of refined sugars like high-fructose corn syrup or straight white sugar to be added to processed foods. This enhanced the taste of foods when the fat was removed, which created a seemingly pleasing (and marketable) product. Trading this for that, if you will.
Risk Science from The University of Michigan now reports that something similar has occurred in BPA-free products, with one of the most popular substitutes for BPA being polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Basically, this is just another industrialized chemical that comes with the same potential problems (or worse unknown toxic effects.)
Even supposedly hormone-friendly companies such as Tritan, who produces BPA-free products and touts the estrogen-free label on products like styrofoam or Rubbermaid products, comes with increased health risks due to the way the resins or antioxidants in the foods increase toxic uptake once in the body. Many products that have a BPA-free label, were still found to promote estrogenic activity in the body, despite being supposedly safe.
Consumers Aren’t Convinced of the BPA-Free Label Either
The University of Michigan also conducted a consumer-based study that showed the BPA-free label had very little influence over customers, therefore an increased risk in products could be for nothing. So what should you do?
Overall, buy fresh food or frozen food over canned, carry a stainless steel water bottle over plastic, and use glass storage containers instead of plastic ones. That alone will reduce your exposure by multitudes and even stretch your budget since you won’t be throwing plastic away and because frozen foods like frozen beans or broccoli are often cheaper per serving than canned.
What’s your take? Are you BPA-free convinced?
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
Image Source: Rubbermaid Products/Flickr