Bisphenol A, or known simply as BPA, is a chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins for the last 60 to 70 years. In 2008, when this chemical started making headlines no one paid much attention. However, that tide is finally turning and BPA has become a scary topic garnering much attention.
First, because every day we are finding more harmful effects of BPA not only to our environment, but to us! Second, because the use of plastics containing this chemical is infused in most of our everyday lives; from the plastic wrap or plastic containers we use to keep our organic food fresh to the cases of bottles we buy so that we can drink better water.
What Does The Research Say?
In one particular study conducted at Harvard University, exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) was found to disrupt the human reproductive process and seemed to play a role in about 20 percent of current unexplained infertility. In the laboratory experiments 352 eggs from 121 consenting patients at a fertility clinic, were exposed to varying levels of BPA. The results were concerning to say the least.
Exposure to BPA decreased the percentage of eggs that matured and increased the percentage of eggs that degenerated. BPA also increased the number of eggs that underwent an abnormal process called “spontaneous activation”. This process makes eggs act as if they have been fertilized when in fact they haven’t been.
Additionally other studies have found that BPA can:
1. Inhibit the embryos ability to attach to the uterine lining.
2. Interfere with the development of uterine cells and the way they change in preparation for possible pregnancy.
3. keep cells from dividing properly, which could inhibit pregnancy and potentially cause birth defects and developmental problems in children.
4. Have a pronounced effect on how successful invitro-fertilization is. In one study nearly “93% of the women undergoing the treatment had measurable amounts of BPA in their systems as did 81% of their partners”, leading researchers to link a higher level of invitro-fertilization failures with higher BPA levels.
5. Negatively affect sperm, including lowering sperm counts, decreasing sperm vitality and impairing sperm movement.
How Can I Decrease My Risk?
In a world where plastics are used in just about everything, it is difficult to completely remove plastics from your life. However, if you can limit your food and beverage exposure from plastic containers, you can help to keep your own BPA levels low.
To help decrease your risk of associated exposure, be sure to:
1.Buy meat and produce that is not wrapped in plastics. If you do purchase plastic covered foods, remove them as soon as you get home and rewrap them in safer coverings.
2. Use fewer canned foods and more fresh or frozen.
3. Never store leftovers in plastics containers or bags. Invest in a set of glass or porcelain storage containers.
4. Never reheat foods in plastic containers in the microwave – the heat can release even more toxins into your food.
5. Never drink from a plastic bottle. Instead, fill a non-BPA bottle with filtered water from your home and carry it with you. Or alternatively use a stainless steel refillable beverage container – you can even purchase stainless steel straws!
6. Avoid plastics with a 7 or a 3 code on the bottom. These plastics generally contain BPA. Other numbered plastic are less likely to have BPA in them. As a matter of fact, many brands of bottles, sippy cups, and other tableware prominently advertise that they are BPA-free.