Bisphenol A, or BPA, is one of those things that a lot of people know exists and is bad, but are not really sure why. How many times were you told a product is bad, but still used it anyways because, I mean, how bad can it really be if it’s being sold on the market? I know I am guilty of that! So, today I want to shine a little bit of light on what BPA is and some reasons why it is harmful and should be avoided when possible.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A, or BPA is a synthetic Estrogen chemical compound, or manmade chemical compound with Estrogen properties. A synthetic chemical is a man-made, unnatural chemical compound formed through a chemical process. As one of the highest produced synthetic chemicals in the world, it is currently a 6 billion dollar industry.
BPA is commonly found in almost all plastic products on the market because it has clear and shatterproof properties. Used in a wide variety of products, it has been used for birth control, laundry detergents, thermal receipt paper, lining in aluminum cans, and baby bottles for examples.
How Is It Harmful to Humans?
BPA was originally intended for birth control in the 1890s. When in the body, it acts like a hormone and imitates Estrogen. A major problem with BPA is that it is an endocrine disruptor. This means the chemical interferes with our body’s natural hormonal rhythm. When we disrupt the natural flow of our hormones with a synthetic hormone, the body will behave differently to try and compensate for the toxin. We increase our chances of cancers and birth defects with Endocrine disruptors. Even in small doses, BPA can have these harmful effects to the body.
How Is It Harmful to the Environment?
When we consume products containing BPA, those products will most likely end up in the landfill someday, or in the ocean. There is an abundance of plastic products currently floating in the ocean. When in light and heat, those plastic products break down, or photo-degrade. Thus, the chemicals leach from the plastic into the the water. Marine animals then come in contact with the toxins from plastic.
Plastic products containing BPA are not the only way BPA can get into the Environment. BPA has also been used in pesticides. As one of the top ocean pollutants, pesticides make its way to the ocean from land runoff due to soil erosion and rainstorms.
When BPA comes in contact with animals, it has a negative affect just like it does on humans. There is a study that was done which found that BPA affects the fertilities of fish. Another study done by scientist, Patricia Hunt, found that her laboratory mice were aborting their pups because of the effects of BPA which came from the plastic bottles in the cages.
What Can You Do To Avoid BPA?
Currently, it is very hard to avoid BPA. Do not stress about it. Just be aware of what BPA is, how it can effect you, and ways to avoid it so you come in contact with it less. A few ways to avoid it are:
- Consume less canned foods (BPA lining) or buy canned food marked “BPA Free”
- Avoid plastics as much as possible, especially those marked “PC” or “#3” or “#7”
- Use metal kitchenware as opposed to plastic utensils
- Say no to receipts
- Do not heat up your food in plastic
- Avoid disposable coffee cups by bringing your own stainless steel or glass. The lining contains BPA.
There is extensive research and studies being done with BPA. I am not fluent on the topic, simply beginning to learn about it. So, I am sharing the basic information I learned from The Human Experiment, Plastic Paradise, and various web sources!
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