According to a new report in the journal Reproductive Toxicology, early exposures to the BPA chemical commonly found in canned foods (short for bisphenol-A) could promote abnormal breast growth in boys and adult men due as it is one of the hormone disruptors. BPA is found in many products, including baby bottles, plastic containers and even nature (air, water and sand).
So what is bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic compound used to make polycarbonate polymers and epoxy resins, along with other materials used to make plastics. It is a colorless solid that is soluble in organic solvents, but poorly soluble in water.
Bisphenol A has been known to be leached from the plastic lining of canned foods and polycarbonate plastics, especially those cleaned with harsh detergents or that contain acidic or high-temperature liquids. BPA is an ingredient in the internal coating of metal food and beverage cans used to protect the food from direct contact with the can. A recent Health Canada study found that the majority of canned soft drinks it tested had low, but measurable levels of bisphenol A. Furthermore, a study conducted by the University of Texas School of Public Health in 2010, found BPA in 63 of 105 samples of fresh and canned foods, foods sold in plastic packaging, and in cat and dog foods in cans and plastic packaging.
Researchers exposed male mice to very low doses of BPA, and found that the mice went on to have enlarged mammary tissue in adulthood, explains study author Laura Vandenberg, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow of biology at the Center for Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Tufts University.
About a dozen states have taken measures to remove BPA from baby bottles, sippy cups, or the lining of baby formula cans, but researchers agree that this is only solving one part of the problem. Since of the most damaging exposure happens prenatally, if a pregnant mother ingests BPA, it could spark damage in her child that may not show up for decades.
To protect your family from harmful BPA chemicals and replacements, avoid eating and drinking from plastic containers, and if you must use them, never heat the plastic in the dishwasher or microwave—doing so accelerates chemical leaching. Say no to receipts you don’t need, since BPA or potentially harmful BPA replacements are used to coat the paper and can seep into your skin. Choosing fresh or frozen vegetables and other foods instead of canned will also reduce your exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals.
BPA bottles how to tell?
At this moment, there is no BPA labeling requirements for plastics. However, you can
identify by the plastic code or Resin Identification Code on the plastic bottle itself. In general, plastics that are marked with codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with the code 7 may be made with BPA.
Type 7 plastics, such as polycarbonate (sometimes identified with the letters “PC” near the recycling symbol) and epoxy resins, are made from bisphenol A monomer.
Type 3 (PVC) also may contain bisphenol A.
What is BPA free?
Due to increasing concern on the side effects from BPA, the industry has responded by creating “BPA-free” products, which are made from plastic containing a compound called bisphenol S (BPS). BPS, which shares a similar structure and versatility to BPA, is now being used in everything from currency to thermal receipt paper, and widespread human exposure to BPS was confirmed in a 2012 analysis of urine samples taken in the U.S., Japan, China and five other Asian countries.
However, according to a 2012 study, BPS, like BPA, shares similar problems to BPA in that it has been found to be a hormone disruptor even at extremely low levels of exposure. A 2011 study found that people are being exposed to high levels of BPS in cash register thermal paper receipts and many of the other products that engendered concerns about the health effects of BPA. The researchers found BPS in all the receipt paper they tested, 87 percent of the samples of paper currency and 52 percent of recycled paper. The study found that people may be absorbing 19 times more BPS through their skin than the amount of BPA they absorbed when it was more widely used.