Plastics containing Bisphenol-A linked to child misbehavior
Yes we know, everything causes cancer, nothing is safe for our kids, a lot of paranoia, right?
Sometimes these concerns are for real. A chemical of significant importance to parents and scientists these days is Bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA is a common chemical used in plastics for increased flexibility and molding. It can be found in your child’s plastic sippy cup, binkies, and even canned food. The lining found inside some canned foods is very similar to high density plastics, thus likely to contain significant levels of BPA. Numerous studies have proven that Bisphenol-A can negatively impact your health. Experts have advised people to shop for BPA-free products. In general, avoiding plastics whenever possible is a good idea.
Read on and read the label before you purchase that pair of dangly keys or canned mac’n’cheese.
Research Reveals Unpleasant News
Leaching is the process of a chemical seeping out of its original binding and into its surroundings (see example here). A university study was conducted to determine the leaching abilities of plastic bottles wherein the interaction between warm liquids and polycarbonate plastics released Bisphenol A into the drinking solution. During the Harvard study, each student was given two polycarbonate bottles, which were not to be cleaned in the dishwasher (to void increased heat) and filled only with cold water. The students’ urine samples came back positive for a BPA increase of 69 percent. Is this a concern? The unfortunate answer is “yes” because Bisphenol-A has been shown to alter the endocrine system causing early sexual development. Changes in fetal development, sperm production, and malfunctioning hormones are also results of BPA ingestion.
Recently, the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill released a study, the first of its kind, linking behavioral problems in children from women that were exposed to BPA during pregnancy. The study measured levels of BPA in urine samples at three different stages of
pregnancy- the first at 16 weeks, then at 26 weeks and finally at birth. The results showed that the women who had the highest levels of Bisphenol-A in their systems at the earliest stages of pregnancy had daughters who were more aggressive and hyperactive. To the scientists’ surprise, girls seemed to be the most affected while boys didn’t have a big difference in aggression but instead became more anxious and depressed. The greatest effects caused seem to be those of the earliest exposures. Most women can be affected even before they know they are pregnant, which can later cause even greater problems for their unborn children. Last year Canada became the first country to ban Bisphenol-A in baby bottles and Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us have announced they will stock only BPA-free bottles.
How to drink beverages without worrying about BPA exposure
It used to be simple. If people were worried about Bisphenol-A exposure, all they needed to do was go out and buy a BPA-free bottle, usually made from aluminum. However, BPA-free doesn’t necessarily mean BPA-free anymore. A major bottle manufacturer, SIGG, revealed that their supposed BPA-free aluminum bottles actually did contain BPA in bottle linings. Another bottle manufacturer, Gaiam, recently revealed that their BPA-free aluminum bottles did contain BPA, 23.8 parts per billion under extreme heat conditions. This amount is ten times more potent than the Bisphenol-A levels found in SIGG. So what is a worried consumer to do when bottles claiming to be BPA-free aren’t really BPA-free? Fortunately, more and more options are becoming available for the eco-conscious consumer. Here are some alternatives.
- Stainless steel- Unbreakable, portable, and safe, stainless steel bottles are one of the best reusable bottles to own
- BPA-free plastics: Look for plastic beverage containers made from high-density polyethylene (#2 HDPE), low density polyethylene (#4 LDPE), or polypropylene (#5 PP).
- Aluminum bottles– There are manufacturers out there that offer true BPA-free aluminum bottles, just be shopping-savvy
- Ceramic mugs