We now know that there are many toxic chemicals, like BPA and phthalates, all around us and in us. We also know just how harmful to our health they can be.
Research has already shown a direct link to (to name just a few):
- reproductive cancers (breast, endometrial, testicular, prostate, ovarian)
- abnormalities in male reproductive organs (cryptorchidism and hypospadias)
- early puberty
- sex ratios (the number of live male births divided by the total number of births for a given period of time)
- and most recently atypical childhood social behaviors and specifically autism.
It seems like there are new studies being published all the time proving this. It can be so easy to throw up our hands with this realization and believe there is nothing we can do to prevent exposure. So then why bother to learn more and keep trying?
I know that I have jokingly said more than once that I know that the damage was already done (for me). Yes, I did my best to read labels for myself too, but my main focus has been on preventing exposure for my children because that was where I could make a real difference.
I have been proven wrong.
photo credit: flickr
A new study released by The Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute found that when families avoided using any BPA-containing food packaging – canned foods and polycarbonate plastic – they reduced the amount of BPA in their bodies by 60% in three days. Three days!
That is something we can all do and see real results, and quickly. This is huge.
A few quick tips to reduce exposure to BPA and phthalates in food packaging:
- Avoid canned foods whenever possible, unless you know it is made BPA-free. Check out this guide.
- Cook at home using fresh foods.
- Use stainless steel and glass food storage containers. Consider bringing your own when dining out.
- Replace plastic in the kitchen when you can.
- Until then avoid microwaving plastic.
- Take care when washing plastic – top rack of dishwasher.
- Know your plastics – #2, #4, #5 are considered safer than others.
- Avoid the PVC-based commercial plastic food wrap.
- When you are ready to do more, do more.
The study also looked at several phthalates, three of which are also found in the same food packaging as BPA. Study participants saw a reduction of 50% of those three phthalates in their bodies by avoiding the suspect canned foods and plastic. The other phthalates measured saw no real difference, but it gives me hope that if we read our ingredient lists faithfully and do our best to avoid these chemicals that we can see reductions in levels of these as well.
When I see the damage that BPA and phthalates, both endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), can do to our children, to ourselves, and I can see small steps that I can take to reduce the risk of these adverse health effects, I have to try my best to take them.
What about you?
Do you think manufacturers will begin to voluntarily reformulate packaging to eliminate BPA and phthalates? Will you trust a label, like the current BPA-free label, that has no regulations behind it? Or should there be action taken at the federal level to ensure chemical safety for all Americans?