Is BPA-Free plastic safe?

Long hailed the healthier alternative to plastic, “BPA free” plastic is everywhere! Water bottles, lunch boxes and even reusable coffee cups are branded “BPA free” for the health conscious consumer.

So, what is BPA?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in plastic to make it, well.. plastic. It is used to make hard plastics, the kind we use for storing food and beverages. 

It had been used in plastics for decades, however studies showed BPA was responsible for multiple health issues and resulted in companies removing it from products. BPA has been shown to contribute to immune, reproductive and neurological issues, and has been linked to cases of childhood asthma, metabolic disease, obesity, early puberty, poor sperm quality and count, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

You may be wondering, how could a plastic cup cause all of these health issues?

Well, the compound BPA is similar to our hormones in structure. When a coffee cup or lunch box is heated, BPA can leach into the contents of the food and drink inside. When its then ingested, the body can confuse the BPA from that lunch box plastic with our natural hormones. In our bodies, we have hormone receptor sites which are reserved for hormones like oestrogen. With BPA in our systems looking so similar to a hormone in structure, it can sneakily bind to our hormone receptor sites and overload the cells. This overload disrupts our endocrine system, leading to multiple health issues that are influenced by hormones.

It really doesn’t take much BPA in our systems to have this affect either.

Plastic that has been “stressed” releases even more chemicals than unused plastic. Stressed plastic may have been exposed to heat or UV light, a microwave, or a dishwasher, and this can cause further leaching of these chemicals in larger quantities.

Is “BPA Free” Plastic a better option?

Manufacturers have replaced BPA with alternative plastic hardeners Bisphenol S (BPS) and Bisphenol F (BPF). Studies show that the replacements BPS and BPF are having the same affect on our endocrine systems as BPA exposure did.

With this in mind, heres a few tips to minimise your exposure.

• Never heat your plastic. Ever.

• If it has been stressed, recycle it, and replenish your tupperware draw with glass or stainless steel food storage containers.

• Never heat your babies bottle in a microwave.

• Avoid packaged foods in plastic wrap and plastic bottles.

• Stop accepting receipts from the cashier. A study showed that blood levels of BPA in cashiers was much higher due to repetitive handling of receipts! Crazy huh?

• Eat plenty of fibre to help your body to pass the chemicals and increase your consumption of vegetables from the brassica family. The brassica family include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and mustard.

Curious about other ways to support your hormones? Contact Brooke, our Naturopath and Clinical Nutritionist who has a special interest in healthy hormones via email at brooke@nbip.com.au or call the clinic 02 8406 0679

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