What is BPA? How do we avoid it? And what are the health concerns?

Most of us are well aware by now that BPA is a nasty that we should avoid. Thankfully, this has been made easy by a large number of water bottle and container manufacturers removing the substance from production materials.

To clear up some of the myths surrounding BPA and its affect on our health we asked our resident GP, Dr Claudia Lee to give us the lowdown.

“Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in hard plastics that can have a negative impact on our health due to its action as an ‘endocrine disruptor’,” says Dr Lee. This means that it has the potential to imitate and interfere with the production, secretion, and function of the body’s hormones.

In 2009, the Endocrine Society USA expressed concern in a public statement over current human exposure to BPA. Laws were changed to remove the chemical from many products and change the labeling for those that still contained the chemical.

“Due to the possible health effects of BPA in humans related to reproductive disorders, breast cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, the substance is now very rarely used in any plastic containers,” Dr Lee says.

Avoiding plastic altogether is tricky considering how many products come wrapped in it. Keep these tips in mind to minimise your risk:

  1. Use plastic containers and water bottles that are labeled BPA free.
  2. Avoid microwaving food in plastic containers, put your food into a microwave safe bowl or onto a plate before warming it up.
  3. Wash your plastic containers by hand with a mild detergent as the high temperatures in your dishwasher can cause BPA to leak from plastics.
  4. Don’t leave water bottles or Tupperware in your car where they might be exposed to high temperatures.