Finally Some Good News About BPA

Don’t worry, we’re not going to say that BPA (bisphenol A) is not as bad as we thought—it certainly is. But the good news is that plastic bottles that claim to be BPA-free were actually found to live up to their claims. Concerns that newer “BPA-free”-marketed bottles were not actually free of the harmful endocrine-disrupting chemical prompted this independent study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the UC Center for Environmental Genetics, performed by University of Cincinnati researchers and published in the journal Chemosphere.

The researchers found that stainless steel and/or co-polyester lined aluminum bottles did not release BPA, but aluminum bottles lined with epoxy-based resins did. “[BPA] is used extensively in the production of consumer goods, polycarbonate plastics, in epoxy resins that are used to coat metallic food and beverage cans and in other products. There is a great concern regarding the possible harmful effects from exposures that result from BPA leaching into foods and beverages from packaging or storage containers,” the study stated.

All bottles used in the study were obtained from retail stores and were made from polycarbonate, co-polyester, stainless steel, aluminum with co-polyester lining or aluminum with epoxy resin lining.

Detectible levels of BPA leaked from polycarbonate bottles, though the aluminum bottles lined with epoxy resins leached the most BPA. So if you switched your reusable water bottle to a metal one, be sure it’s not lined with epoxy resin. Aluminum bottles lined with EcoCare™ did not leach BPA. It’s good to know there are safer alternatives out there.

Is “BPA Free” the new BPA?

Most of us are in close quarters with plastic throughout the day, from the cars we drive to the foods we eat. While plastics are ubiquitous in modern life, many experts fear that the chemicals found in plastics may be negatively impacting our health. One such chemical is Bisphenol A, or BPA. BPA is released into the environment in excess of one million pounds per year and can be found in everything from baby bottles to dental fillings and sealants. But potential negative effects of BPA on the brain, reproductive systems of infants and young children have caused organizations like the EPA and FDA to take notice.

Hundreds of animal studies link exposure to BPA with a multitude of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. While it’s not clear how and to what extent these chemicals affect humans, scientists know that BPA leaches estrogen-like chemicals into food and water and has the potential to disrupt hormonal balance. BPA has been identified as a toxin and it has since been banned for use in baby bottles in the European Union and Canada, but the US has yet to follow suit.  Many manufacturers are now marketing to health conscious American consumers by offering up plastics that are labeled as “BPA free”, but watchdog organizations like the Environmental Working Group believe more governmental regulation limiting the toxin is required.

Unfortunately, the result of a new study suggests that simply avoiding BPA may not be enough.  The journal Environmental Health Perspectives, published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, conducted a test on plastic items most commonly found in the home, including those advertised as “BPA free”.  Scientists tested hundreds of these everyday plastic items, exposing them to either alcohol or saltwater to determine whether they emitted toxins with estrogenic activity. The assessment concluded that over 70% of the plastic products, both regular and “BPA free”, released chemicals that acted like estrogen. After simulating real-world conditions like sunlight and the extreme heat of a dishwasher, over 95% of the products released the toxins.

The alarming results of the study will likely bolster sales of stainless steel containers and other products made from plastic alternatives, but consumers who continue to use plastics are urged to avoid microwaving or subjecting plastic items to extreme heat or cold. Those concerned about the health effects of chemicals due to past exposure should consider a round of detoxification programs. Cleansing kits such as Renew Life’s CleanseSMART, Liver Detox, and Total Kidney Detox can help support the natural elimination of chemicals such as BPA and other chemicals from your body.  It’s also very important to increase fiber during these programs because fiber is known to bind to toxins and help with their elimination.