Up until a few years ago BPA was just three letters thrown together to most people. Now it can be found on labels everywhere indicating that the product does not contain this toxic chemical. And while the focus has been on baby products and kids toys there are products that we all use every day that contain BPA (Bisphenol A) and are affecting our health.
1. Aluminum Cans
Food can commonly be found in aluminum cans to help extend their shelf life. To protect the food from being in direct contact with the aluminum, manufacturers line the can with BPA. This practice should be a concern for all of us for many reasons. During manufacturing, the BPA lined cans are filled with the food product and then sealed. The next step isn’t that they are packaged up and sent to a store shelf near you, instead the cans enter an oven to cook the contents or a hot water bath to sterilize the cans. In both cases not only will the food inside the can be heated but so will the BPA lining. When BPA is heated it will leach into whatever is around it and in this case that means it is leaching into the food within the can.
Looking for Alternatives?
- Pop – Buy a Soda Stream with a glass carafe and make your own soda.
- Tomato Products – Make and can your own tomato products with locally grown organic tomatoes in glass jars with glass lids.
- Stock – Use leftover food scraps to make your own chicken, turkey or veggie stock.
- Baked/Kidney/Black Beans – Buy dry beans in bulk and hydrate yourself. Store in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
- Soup – Make your own with in season vegetables and homemade stock and freeze in meal sized portions.
Thermal paper and carbonless copy paper receipts contain BPA. When you touch these receipts the BPA can easily be transferred to your skin and then easily ingested when your fingers touch your mouth. If you ever receive these types of receipts ensure you throw them in the garbage and do not try to recycle them. The best way to avoid exposure to BPA in receipts is to ask the cashier to not print the receipt. If they do not have that option and you have to take it then ensure you do not put it in the bag but instead place it in your wallet, purse or pocket and dispose of it when you get home.
What is a thermal receipt? Typical these receipts come from cash registers and credit card terminals. When heated they will change colour to black.
What is a carbonless copy paper receipt? These receipts are the type were printing or writing them produces multiple copies that can be divided apart.
3. Recycled Toilet Paper
Buying recycled toilet paper may make you feel like you are picking the sustainable product but in fact you are picking a product that could have health implications for your family. Recycled toilet paper is made from recycled paper and if receipts containing BPA have been recycled then BPA will end up in the toilet paper.
Looking for Alternatives?
- Buy non-recycled toilet paper. Yes, it sucks from an environmental perspective but this is one situation where health impacts may trump the environmental impacts.
- Try family cloth. While using cloth wipes may be over your crunchy line (it is over mine), you could try a modified version where only those who are most susceptible to BPA exposure (children) have their own set of cloth wipes.
What products containing BPA do you use and what changes have you made to reduce your exposure?