This October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re highlighting common chemicals linked to breast cancer across a range of everyday products. According to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, a woman’s risk of breast cancer has increased by more than 40% over the last two decades, to a lifetime risk of 1 in 8.
Mounting studies show links to chemicals in everyday products and breast cancer. The good news is studies also show that actively avoiding these toxic chemicals reduces levels of those chemicals in our bodies.
Which means that every step you take, no matter how small, weights the scales toward better health! This week we’re covering BPA.
What Is it?
BPA is a structural component of plastic found in numerous household products including food storage, water bottles, plastics dishes and cutlery, and food packaging. BPA stands for Bisphenol A and can be found in many plastic items with the recycling code #7 or recycling code #3.
The problem with BPA in packaging is that the chemical can migrate from the packaging into the food or liquid it contains. High heat or extreme cold (i.e. microwaves, dishwashers, or freezers) can cause BPA to leech faster. Given that so many products are packaged in BPA-containing plastics, exposure to the chemical is widespread, with an overwhelming majority of the population exposed.
The Health Concern
BPA in an endocrine disrupting chemical, meaning it can interfere with hormone levels and hormonal communication. Particularly, BPA impacts estrogen receptors in the body, and exposure to it is linked to inflammation, ovarian and breast diseases, female and male infertility, early puberty, breast cancer, childhood neurological disorders, and more.
How to Avoid It
The good news is that while BPA seems to be everywhere, you actually can reduce your exposure with some easy changes. And those changes really matter. For example, one study showed that people who stopped eating all canned food and food packaged in plastic for just three days showed a drop of over 60% of BPA levels in their bodies.
- Look for packaging made of glass, steel, and porcelain, rather than plastic.
- When plastic cannot be avoided, choose recycling codes 1, 2, 4, and 5, as these are less toxic plastics.
- Buy in bulk. Utilize the bulk bins at your grocery store to reduce the amount of food packaging you come in contact with.
- Go virtual. When given the option, skip the paper receipt, which can be made of BPA-containing thermal paper, and have your receipt emailed to you.
- Be wary of BPA-free plastics. These can often be made of other Bisphenols, like BPS. The full extent of the health impacts of other Bisphenols are not yet widely understood by scientists, but are known to leach endocrine disrupting chemicals, so it is best to avoid them. Instead, choose alternative packaging materials as much as possible.
- Look for the MADE SAFE seal on baby products and water bottles. Baby bottles, teething rings, nookies, and toys are often made of BPA-containing plastics, which can leech from the product. In addition to being BPA-free, MADE SAFE certified products are made without other toxic chemicals linked to human health issues and ecosystem harm. Find MADE SAFE certified products here.
BPA-Free MADE SAFE Certified Products
Pura Stainless, the only 100% plastic-free bottle out there! It’s made completely of stainless steel and silicone. It’s also the only bottle on the planet to have been MADE SAFE Nontoxic certified, which means that all of Pura’s bottles have been lab-tested to prove they’re made without toxic chemicals linked to human health or environmental harm.
The nontoxic factor isn’t the only great thing about these bottles. A key component of Pura’s design is their patented universal lid system that allows all Pura bottles to work with any silicone lid Pura makes. This Baby Grows… Bottle Evolves strategy means that a single bottle can transform from an infant bottle, to a sippy cup or a straw bottle for toddlers, and finally to a sport bottle (and vice versa)—with just a simple swap of the Pura lid. One set of bottles will last years instead of months and replace dozens of age-specific bottles (and all of that plastic they represent) that end up in the trash when outgrown. This means that Pura bottles are not only nontoxic, they’re economical!