What is BPA and Why Should You Care About It?
It's critical to understand what's going into your body, from the foods you eat to the cleaning supplies you use. Toxins can be found in seemingly innocuous items such as food storage containers, which can have a negative impact on your health. As a result, certain substances that are commonly found in household products, such as BPA, have found themselves at the center of health debates.
Bisphenol A, sometimes known as BPA, is an industrial chemical that has been used since the 1950s to create some plastics and resins.
Epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics also contain BPA. Water bottles and other storage containers for food and drink frequently utilize polycarbonate plastic. They might be found in other consumer goods as well.
Often the insides of metal objects including food cans, bottle caps, and water supply lines are coated with epoxy resins.
According to some studies, BPA can leach into food or beverages from BPA-containing containers.
Canned food is the most common source of BPA in the human body today. In the early 2000s, researchers discovered that 92.6% of people had BPA traces in their urine. 3 The average person in the studies was within the safe exposure limit. However, any amount of BPA exposure is potentially harmful to human health.
What is BPA and why is it harmful?
BPA is a hormone disruptor. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), BPA can mimic the body's hormones and interfere with their production, response, or action. It can, for example, behave similarly to estrogen and other hormones in the human body.
There is limited research to show how endocrine disruptors affect humans, but some research has found they can harm animals and can even be toxic to animals. Because the balance of hormones is so delicate, even a small amount may have developmental and biological consequences.
According to research, BPA can have a variety of effects on human health. Some of them are listed below.
How is BPA harmful to humans?
BPA exposure is a cause for concern due to the potential health effects on the endocrine system, brain, and prostate glands of fetuses, infants, and children. It can also have an impact on children's behavior. More research suggests a link between BPA and high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. However, exposure levels in most people's daily lives are unlikely to cause serious harm.
Research does suggest that BPA exposure even in small amounts can still have an effect on human health.
BPA exposure can affect egg maturation in humans.
Researchers have discovered evidence that BPA can disrupt endocrine function in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
According to the researchers, this type of behavior can interfere with puberty and ovulation and may result in infertility. They go on to say that the impact could be "lifelong and transgenerational."
BPA may affect male fertility, according to a 2009 study that looked at the effect of males' exposure to BPA at work. According to the findings, high levels of exposure may increase the risk of erectile dysfunction, as well as problems with sex-drive and ejaculation.
Even low-dose BPA exposure has been linked to cardiovascular problems in humans, including coronary artery heart disease, angina, heart attack, hypertension, and peripheral artery disease.
Animal studies show that this type of exposure can cause arrhythmias, atherosclerosis, and blood pressure changes.
Type 2 diabetes and body weight
There is evidence that BPA exposure in humans may contribute to➔ Diabetes type 2 by influencing insulin resistance
➔ Metabolic syndrome
➔ Weight gain
Animal studies have revealed that BPA may aggravate or increase the risk of:➔ Insulin resistance and insulin secretion changes
➔ Increase in fat cells
➔ Glucose intolerance and high blood sugar
➔ Difficulties with beta cell function
Development of the Fetal Brain
According to research, BPA exposure in the environment has the potential to harm the developing brain during pregnancy.
Changes in structural development, interference with estrogen regulation, and DNA modifications are all consequences. According to one 2011 study published by PubMed Central, this could have an impact on social behavior and anxiety after birth.
Prostate and Breast Cancer
Scientists believe that because of its estrogen-like behavior, BPA may increase the risk of breast, prostate, and other cancers in people who were exposed to the chemical in the womb.
A group of researchers concluded in 2015 that BPA exposure before birth could have long-term effects on carcinogenesis in certain organs. This, in turn, may lead to the formation of hormone-related cancers.
According to scientists, BPA may also interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer.
How can I reduce my exposure to BPA?
If you are concerned about BPA, you can reduce your exposure by doing the following:➔ Make use of BPA-free products. Manufacturers are developing an increasing number of BPA-free products. Look for products that are BPA-free. If a product isn't labeled, keep in mind that some plastics with recycling codes 3 or 7 may contain BPA. You can look for a code indicating whether BPA is present on the bottom of plastic packaging or containers that you are interested in purchasing. If the recycling symbol has a 3 or 7, the container may contain BPA.
➔ Heat should be avoided. Avoid using plastic containers in the microwave or dishwasher because the heat may cause them to degrade over time, allowing BPA to leach into foods.
➔ Select fresh, whole foods that are not packaged in plastic. Eat fresh, whole fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Reduce consumption of products that are packed in plastic or aluminum cans.
➔ Consider alternatives. Instead of using plastic containers for hot foods and liquids, use glass, porcelain, or stainless-steel containers. Instead of using single-use plastics consider purchasing a BPA-free reusable water bottle made from glass or stainless steel.
Is stainless steel BPA-free?
Food-grade stainless steel does not require a plastic liner because it is non-toxic, rust-resistant, and corrosion-resistant. That means our reusable water bottles, travel coffee cups, and insulated food pots are 100 percent BPA-free. They are also free of other toxic chemicals found in disposable and reusable plastic bottles. This means that even when used with hot food or liquids, stainless steel will not leach harmful chemicals into your food or beverages. Switching from plastic to glass or stainless steel containers is a small change that may benefit your health in the long run.
According to a recent study of 77 Harvard College students, it was found that drinking water from polycarbonate bottles increased BPA levels by two-thirds after one week. This suggests that drinking water from such bottles on a regular basis significantly increases a person's BPA exposure.
In conclusion, although companies are reducing their use of BPA in canned goods and other food packaging, it is still in use today. There is some scientific evidence that avoiding BPA is a good idea—taking steps to reduce your exposure may provide peace of mind.
Changing some of your containers and making some smart food purchasing decisions can help.
If you are concerned about your BPA exposure, speak with a healthcare provider.