The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Hidden sources of BPA

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hidden sources of BPA

Recent research indicates that the presence of BPA in food items can cause hyperactivity and other learning problems, particularly with girls. Bisphenol A (BPA) is also linked to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver enzyme abnormalities in humans. Most parents today know enought to use baby bottles and sippy cups that are BPA free, but what about the hidden sources of this additive? Here are a few:
  1. Thermally printed paper like receipts and movie tickets. Keep these away from your kids if they also use those hands to dip into a box of popcorn.
  2. Dental Sealant. The sealants dentists use to protect teeth from cavities break down into BPA when in contact with saliva. Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital also advise pregnant women to avoid dental sealants.
  3. Pizza boxes. Yep, they are recycled, sometimes from that thermally printed paper!
  4. Soda cans. The plastic lining contains traces of BPA. Now both the can and the contents should be avoided.
  5. Wine (those fermented in vats lined with plastic.) I know you won't give your children wine to drink, but you may use it in cooking.
To avoid or limit your own exposure, avoid plastic containers that have the number 7 printed on the bottom. Never microwave your food in any type of plastic container and never wash these plastics in the dishwasher with detergents that are harsh with very hot water. This combination of hot water and detergent can cause BPA to be deposited on your other dishes and even glassware.

As part of their study, the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute enrolled five families, each consisting of two parents and two children, who had regularly consumed prepackaged, processed foods and drinks in cans, frozen dinners, bottled water and foods designed to be microwaved in their own containers. Then, for three days, these families were presented with fresh, organic food cooked by the research team and stored only in glass or stainless steel containers. To measure the direct and immediate impact of the change, researchers collected urine samples from all participants before, during and after the diet.

After just three days, everyone’s BPA level fell, with an average drop of two-thirds. BPA has a half-life of six hours in your body, notes Connie Engel, PhD, program coordinator at The Breast Cancer Fund. This means that six hours following exposure, half of what you’ve taken in is eliminated. When the families resumed their normal diets, their BPA levels returned to pre-intervention levels by the next urine sample. These findings were published in March in the online journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

So, the bottom line is: Natural is better and always question the quality of the plastics you use when feeding your family.

Happy Parenting!

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