Dirty Dozen #1: BPA
There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signalling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.
Some may say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but do you really want a chemical used in plastics imitating the sex hormone oestrogen in your body?
Unfortunately, this synthetic hormone can trick the body into thinking it’s the real thing – and the results aren’t pretty.
BPA has been linked to everything from breast and other cancers to reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease.
How to avoid it.
Go fresh instead of canned – many food cans have BPA in their linings – or research which companies don’t use BPA or similar chemicals in their products.
Say no to receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA.
Avoid plastics marked with “PC,” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7.
Other common products that may contain BPA include:
- Items packaged in plastic containers
- Canned foods
- Water in plastic bottles
- Cling wraps
- Plastic food storage containers
- Feminine hygiene products
- Thermal printer receipts
- CDs and DVDs
- Household electronics
- Eyeglass lenses
- Sports equipment
- Dental filling sealants
It’s worth noting that many BPA-free products have merely replaced BPA with bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF).
How Does It Enter Your Body?
The major source of BPA exposure is through your diet.
When BPA containers are made, not all the BPA gets sealed into the product. This allows part of it to break free and mix with the container’s contents once food or fluids are added.
For instance, a recent study found that BPA levels in urine decreased by 66% following three days during which participants avoided packaged foods.
Another study had people eat one serving of either fresh or canned soup daily for five days. Urine levels of BPA were 1,221% higher in those who consumed the canned soup
Not all plastics contain BPA, but many do – check the labels and if there is no statement re BPA then it’s better safe than sorry for keeping synthetic hormones out of your body.
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