BPA “Free” May Not Be So Freeing
I honestly don’t even know where to start with this one. Information like this that I come across gets me incredibly riled up. Okay, deep breath. Let me take a step back. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to listen to a webinar by the awesome Lara Adler, fellow health coach and environmental toxins guru. She was teaching other health coaches about the importance of talking about environmental toxins in our discussions with our clients. Most of us health coaches tout the importance of balance in our lives, healthy food + healthy lifestyles + healthy sleep habits, etc. but often forget to educate our clients about the importance of ensuring that the products that we use are also healthy – toxin free. Over the next few posts, I’ll start to share with you some of what I learned. It’s overwhelming, even for someone like me that knew a little about the negative impacts these everyday products have on our overall health. What I didn’t know was that not only do these products (from every product you use to get ready in the morning to what you carry your lunch and water in to what you use to clean your house) may not only be contributing to major diseases (cancer, heart disease, thyroid disease, etc.) but also may be making us fatter. That’s right, I bet I just got your attention.
Many of you may have heard at some point that the chemicals used in say, conventional cleaning agents aren’t that great for you. Many of you may even know to look for BPA-free plastic containers to store food in, drink out of etc. But I bet most of you didn’t know that many of these everyday items that we rely on have the ability to make us fat. How? Synthetic estrogen has been linked to numerous diseases, including obesity.
Based on the Mother Jones article that discusses the reality behind “BPA-free”, in the mid-90s Congress passed a law requiring the EPA to screen ~80,000 chemicals for endocrine disrupting effects. The article states “under US law, chemicals are presumed safe until proven otherwise, and companies are rarely required to collect or disclose chemical-safety data.” As of today, the EPA has yet to test any of the 80,000 substances. Yeah, you read that correctly, 80,000 untested substances may include synthetic estrogen. Even if only 10 substances include it, they could be in your rotation of everyday products.
Furthermore, the article states that these BPA-Free items we so proudly buy now aren’t any better. When tested the results showed “that ‘almost all’ commercially available plastics that were tested leached synthetic estrogens—even when they weren’t exposed to conditions known to unlock potentially harmful chemicals, such as the heat of a microwave, the steam of a dishwasher, or the sun’s ultraviolet rays. According to Bittner’s research, some BPA-free products actually released synthetic estrogens that were more potent than BPA.”
Are you upset yet? Well read the full article and you’ll likely be outraged. What can you do? Start small, where you can. Replace your Tupperware with glass. Use glass or stainless steel products for drinking. This blog had a few additional suggestions with specific brands that I cannot attest to but may be helpful. We made the move to glass Tupperware recently. Right now, I’m mentally scanning my kitchen to identify what needs to go. Stainless steel and iron cookware – check. Glass bottled milk and water – check. Plastic plates, cups and utensils for the kids – a BIG FAT X. I promise this will be changing soon.