BPA Risks and How to Avoid Them

You may have heard of BPA in plastic bottles, but some of the other everyday items that expose you to BPA may surprise you!

There is so much easily accessible information about Bisphenol-a (BPA) and similar chemicals such as Bisphenol-s (BPS) out there already, so I’m not trying to re-write everything or give an extensive encyclopedia of resources. This is meant to give a quick overview and a sampling of different types of information sources.

These toxic chemicals leach easily from containers into food, and also directly into skin from things like receipts.

If you have heard about some companies switching to alternatives to BPA, know that many of the replacements such as BPS are just as bad.

Where BPA/ BPS Chemicals are Found:

-Plastic bottles and other plastic

-Tin can lining

-Food packaging

-Receipts/ thermal paper (including ultrasound images) and sticky labels (such as shipping address labels and grocery store food labels).

-Lottery tickets

-Airline tickets

-Gift receipts

-Prescription bottle labels

-Recycled paper (this can happen from receipts being mixed in with the recycled paper).

-Medical equipment.

-Many other places; these were just some common examples.

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How You Can Avoid BPA:

  • Drink out of reusable glass or stainless steel water bottles.
  • Avoid processed, pre-packaged food; not only are the ingredients likely unhealthy, but the packaging can leave chemicals into the food.
  • Cook at home vs. buying things like cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, which comes in a heated plastic container with thermal sticker labels. According to new research, these toxic chemicals are leaching from certain labels THROUGH packaging, and into the meat, seafood, produce and other foods purchased in some Canadian and U.S. grocery stores.
  • Thermal paper discolors easily when scratched with a coin or paperclip; that is one way you can distinguish it from regular paper.
  • Don’t accept receipts whenever possible.
  • Go with a paperless receipt via email or text message. This is an increasingly available option at many retailers. 
  • If you must handle a receipt, try to touch only the sides or the nonglossy backside. It contains much less BPA.
  • Carefully store receipts. If you absolutely need a receipt, place it in an envelope. BPA will rub off on everything: your hands, pocket, wallet, or purse, even the folding money in your wallet.
  • Quickly wash your hands after touching a receipt. Scrub with soap and water. If you wait longer than four minutes, it’s too late.
  • Wear latex gloves if your job requires the frequent handling of receipts.
  • Don’t use a hand sanitizer after touching a possible thermal receipt; this can increase absorption.
  • Bagging produce yourself rather than purchasing pre-packaged produce with thermal labels. 
  • Picking up your meat from the butcher counter.
  • Bringing your own container or aluminum foil and asking for it to be used to package fresh meat or fish. 
  • Asking to have the label placed under the Styrofoam tray instead of on top (as researchers found that the parts of fish directly under a label had higher concentrations of BPS and other chemicals).

-Sources: Plastic Pollution Coalition and CBC News.

Overview of the Risks of BPA:

“Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disrupting chemical that has been widely studied in both controlled laboratory experiments and human populations [1, 2]. More than 100 epidemiology studies suggest associations between BPA exposures and an increased risk of adverse health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, ADHD, male sexual dysfunction and others [3].

Evaluations of biomonitoring studies have revealed extensive, ubiquitous exposures to this compound in human populations from around the world [48]. Furthermore, hundreds of laboratory animal studies suggest that low doses of BPA can affect endocrine-sensitive endpoints and developing tissues including the nervous system, both male and female reproductive tissues, the immune system, mammary gland, and other metabolic tissues [912]. These studies also suggest that there is increased sensitivity to BPA and other endocrine disruptors during vulnerable periods of development including gestation and the perinatal period [13, 14].

BPA is a high production volume chemical that is used in a range of consumer products including plastics, reusable food and beverage containers, food can linings, medical equipment, and other consumer goods [1517]. BPA leaches from these products at low concentrations, even when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.” – Source is a scientific journal article about BPA in receipts/ thermal paper.

“Bisphenol-a was developed in 1891 as a synthetic estrogen intended for use in pharmaceuticals, but instead found its home in plastics, where it’s been used since the 1950s. It’s now one of the highest volume production chemicals worldwide…

BPA is just a single chemical in a family of chemicals that also includes BPS, BPF, and a handful of other analogs that have seem to have similar properties.

Because Bisphenols are hormonally active, negative health effects are often seen at levels FAR below those deemed “safe” by conventional toxicology ut can you clearly In fact, a 1997 ) paper by Nagel, was the first to show effects on the reproductive system at levels 25,000 times lower than had ever been examined, and 25 times lower than what is the current “safe” level of 50 mg kg/day.

A small 2018 study found that a SINGLE dose of BPA given to HUMANS at that ‘safe’ level altered their glucose-stimulated insulin response. This is just ONE of the many ways that bisphenol exposure can affect us.” -Source: Lara Adler

More Sources of Information About BPA:

1. If you prefer a video to explain BPA, this is a good one.

2. News article about BPA in receipts.

3. Stores including Publix allow you to sign up online for e receipts instead, which eliminates the risk of touching printed receipts. Here is the link for signing up for e receipts at Publix.

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