What is BPA?
BPA, or Bisphenol A, is a chemical used mainly to produce polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It is used in many places, but of concern to us is its use in water bottles, infant bottles and portable containers.
Why is it a problem?
BPA can leach into food from containers that contain BPA, such as any of the aforementioned containers. The chief concern is how widespread the use of BPA is, and therefore the emergence of containers marketed as BPA-free.
How can I identify a container that may have BPA in it?
Polycarbonate plastic containers containers usually contain a “7″ on the bottom. However, “7″ is used to denote “other plastics”, so it alone doesn’t mean a container contains BPA. If the plastic is hard and clear, it’s probably polycarbonate. Plastics marked with 1, 2, 4, 5 or 6 do not use BPA during the manufacturing process. The only way to be 100% sure is to check with the manufacturer.
What can I do?
The NIH found that some animal studies suggested that infants and children are affected by BPA the most. The NIH suggests
- not microwaving polycarbonate plastic containers
- reduce use of canned foods, since BPA may be in the resin that coats the cans
- use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, or BPA-free plastic containers (SC Johnson says that they do not use BPA in their plastic products, Ziploc bags or Saran wraps)