Plastic Containers and Health
Volume 24

I personally believe it is just a matter of time, before the connection between  the use of plastics for food storage, juice/ water bottles, plastic wraps, and even plastic  shower curtains, will be directly linked to toxicity in human health. There is already strong evidence suggesting such, and bottling companies are jumping on the "Eco-Friendly" bandwagon.  Please read, and heed the information provided below.  Many of us, in the field of naturopathy, have been aware of these hazards for years,  scrutinizing use of all containers that are NOT BHA-FREE!  Try to avoid the use of plastics containers, unless it is Nalgene, and BPA-free.  It is my job to educate, as well as recommend.  May the following info enlighten your purchases of any plastic containers, or plastic product lines.  An informed consumer base is vital to all concerns of  potential toxicity, leaching into our food and beverage supply. It also provides a watchful eye, that regulatory agencies must potentially respect.

Bisphenol-A, or BPA is an estrogen-mimicking chemical used to make hard plastics and epoxy resins, found in numerous products that you probably use every day, including:

The use of BPA is so pervasive -- industry uses more than 6 billion pounds of BPA a year -- that scientists have found that 95 percent of people tested have dangerous levels of BPA in their bodies.

This is one valid reason why you should not tolerate the suggestion that “trace amounts” of toxins are safe. The cumulative effect of being exposed to minuscule amounts of BPA from cans, bottles, plates and all other sources over the years can eventually spell serious trouble for your health.

Some of the biggest victims are your children, who may be exposed to the chemical while in utero, and quite literally “fed” the chemical via plastic baby bottles and toys (which they often put in their mouths).

How BPA Can Damage Your Health

In the last ten years, some 700 studies have been published about BPA -- most of them indicating serious health hazards, at least in animals. The most troubling problem with BPA is that it mimics the female hormone estrogen.

Your body is extremely sensitive to sex hormones, and miniscule amounts can induce profound changes. Therefore, scientists are afraid even low levels of BPA could have a negative impact on human health.

In animals, BPA increases aneuploidy, a defect consisting of abnormal loss or gain of chromosomes, which in humans could possibly lead to miscarriages or disorders such as Down Syndrome.

Moreover, there is evidence (among mice and rats) that even low doses of BPA can cause:

It’s difficult to understand why U.S. Health and environmental regulators keep insisting there is “no evidence of harm to human health after 50 years of use,” when this list contains some of the most wide spread health issues that have dramatically increased in that same time frame.

What’s Being Done to Protect You?

There has been some success in limiting the use of BPA. In May of this year, Minnesota legislature passed a statewide ban on the sale of baby bottles, sippy cups, and other children’s food containers, made with BPA. Other states, including California, Connecticut, Michigan and New York, are considering similar legislation.
Some retailers have made the wise decision to respond to consumer demand, and have voluntarily eliminated some of their BPA product lines. It’s a good start, but clearly not enough. Hopefully, Congress will come through with their proposed legislation intended to establish a federal ban on BPA in all food and beverage containers.

Until then, there will be those who go the way of Sigg; claiming to be completely safe and “green,” while hiding the fact that their metal water bottles still contains trace elements of BPA in the lining.

A major problem with BPA is that it doesn't stay in the plastic. It leeches into whatever food or beverage you put in a plastic container, canned good, or plastic baby bottle. Even worse, if you microwave the containers or bottles, or place hot liquids or food into them, BPA is released 55 times more rapidly!
Sigg claims their bottle linings do not allow for this type of leeching. Consumers simply don't believe that’s true, and are not willing to potentially be exposed to harmful chemicals. This story highlights an increasingly common concern: “Is nothing safe?”

Just know you CAN protect you, and your family by implementing specific safeguards . You may not be able to shield yourself completely, but you'll be on guard, and aware of the toxic potential resulting from use of plastics. While your body is capable of eliminating toxins, which are daily absorbed, it is prudent to reduce exposure, by scrutinizing  plastics which may contain BPA.

10 Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to BPA

If you do opt to use plastic containers, instead of glass, be sure to check the recycling label on the bottom of the container.

The website Mother Jones also offers a handy chart that you can cut out and stick on your refrigerator.

Finding BPA-Free Products

Some retailers are ditching hazardous products,  while others are increasingly marketing products that are BPA-free. Here’s an assortment of sources which carry BPA-free products: