By now you may have heard in the news about BPA or Bisphenol A, which is found in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are clear, hard plastics and epoxy resins coat the inside of almost all canned beverages and foods. It can be found in type 3 and type 7 plastics. BPA leaches into food and liquid faster when the plastic is heated.
BPA is an endocrine disruptor which mimics estrogen. SafeMama explains that in animal tests it “has shown to cause an increase in prostate and breast cancer, uro-genital abnormalities in male babies, a decline in semen quality in men, early onset of puberty in girls, metabolic disorders including insulin-resistant (Type 2) diabetes and obesity and neurobehavioral problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” It’s getting a lot of attention at the moment due to the fact that it’s in many baby bottles but it doesn’t end there.
Let’s start with things related to babies. Z Recommends offers the most comprehensive information I’ve ever come across on specific baby items that do not contain BPA. Their list has specific BPA-free choices for baby bottles, teethers, tableware, pacifiers, utensils, feeding aids, sippy cups and pumping supplies. They also offer a text messaging service where you can get “on the go” information sent to your phone when you’re out shopping for any of these items.
BPA is also found in the epoxy resin that seals the metal lids on ALL baby food in glass jars. Yes, even Earth’s Best organic baby food. There are a few BPA-free options. These would include prepared frozen baby food, such as Happy Baby or Yummy Spoonfuls, Gerber’s baby food in the plastic containers (type 7 plastic which has been confirmed by Green and Clean Mom to be a combination of type 1 and 2 plastics in this instance), or make your own.
Infant formula also comes in contact with BPA. Liquid formula in cans has the highest levels but it can also be found in the epoxy resin on the peel back protective coverings on powder formula. Some liquid formula in plastic containers does not contain BPA. The Environmental Working Group has very useful information on their site about this.
Other non-baby related items where BPA can be found are canned goods. Acidic food, such as tomatoes, cause the BPA in cans to be even higher. Eden’s Organic beans are the only canned goods that do not contain BPA. It needs to be noted that any of their other canned goods do contain it. To avoid BPA, try to buy fresh or frozen foods or food in glass jars. Yes, the glass jars would contain BPA in the lids, as mentioned above, but it would be less than what is found in canned goods.
Reusable water bottles and reusable plastic food containers can also contain BPA. RubberMaid has put together a list of their BPA-free products and The Green Guide has made a very useful list on BPA-free safe containers.
When purchasing plastic items for your home, safer choices would be looking for those made from type 1,2,4 or 5 plastics. An easy way to remember this would be when holding up your hand, never use your middle finger (finger 1,2, 4 and 5 will remain up!).
UPDATE: An additional option for frozen baby food is Maddy’s Organic Meals.