Many Americans have come to agree that bisphenol-a (BPA) is probably worrisome enough to avoid. The move to a BPA-free lifestyle no longer requires a leap of faith when current research continually points to new evidence of harm to the health of our children. Recent studies have linked BPA to effects such as increased aggression in toddler girls, heart disease, obesity, early puberty and infertility.
Avoiding BPA is simple enough, right? We used to think that bypassing polycarbonate bottles (which uses BPA to harden the plastic) would get the job done. But now we’re learning that BPA is lurking in the most unexpected places: canned foods and aluminum bottles, some color-tinted polypropylene dishes and teethers, pizza boxes made of recycled cardboard and carbonless credit card receipts.
So now we have to step back and ask ourselves whether we’ve gone over the edge in worrying this much about BPA? When a single chemical is produced in such massive quantities as 6 billion pounds per year, we are remiss if we don’t worry about widespread human exposure. We’re talking about chronic exposure to an endocrine-disrupting chemical on a large scale from multiple sources: air, food, household dust, physical contact and water.
While it’s true that we shouldn’t live in fear, we must be willing to educate ourselves and make changes when possible. BPA is a chemical we can absolutely live without, and many responsive manufacturers have already proven it can be easily substituted in most cases. The time for change is now, and the government is finally responding to consumer demand for more research on the effects of BPA. Stick around this week for a series on exactly how to avoid BPA, as well as a couple of other harmful chemicals hiding in the products we use every day.
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