One thing I’ve become pretty animated about is BPA.
Surely you’ve heard of BPA. It’s a chemical that’s used in hard, clear plastics (water bottles and baby bottles are the two most prevalent ones that come to mind). When heated, scrubbed, or exposed to detergents, these plastics leach out the BPA, and we consume it in whatever the container is holding.
Well … BPA is nasty stuff. It is a known hormone disruptor. Often, when we hear “hormones” we think of estrogen and testosterone. While those are hormones, there are hormones that regulate body functions beyond reproduction, including hunger, growth, and immune system activity. Just about every organ system in the body has associated hormones.
According to wikipedia:
Hormones have the following effects on the body:
A hormone may also regulate the production and release of other hormones. Hormone signals control the internal environment of the body through homeostasis.
So if you’re 3 months old and growing like mad and you are ingesting this hormone disruptor on a regular basis (through formula in a baby bottle), you run risk of your body not developing properly (growth), your immune system not developing properly, your reproductive system not developing properly.
If you’re an adult, there are still quite a few things on that list that you probably don’t want to stop working correctly.
There are connections between early puberty and BPA. There are connections between ADHD and BPA. There are connections between reproductive cancers and BPA. (Did you know that pre-pubescent breast cancer is on the rise?) BPA can inhibit chemotherapy in some breast cancer treatments.
If you’re a non-smoker, do you not smoke because of cancer risk? If you have a small child, would you allow them to be in smoke-filled places on a regular basis? If the answer is no, you might want to consider eliminating exposure to BPA.
Sure, glass bottles are less convenient and you have to be more careful with them, but isn’t it worth it?
We have been using Pyrex and mason jars instead of Tupperware and other plastics for all food storage for several years. If I had been frugal when we started, I would have kept sauce jars and just used those (we have a few now), but I wasn’t that thoughtful.
What else is BPA in? Cans. Soda cans and food cans are lined with plastic that contains BPA. Soups and tomato-based products are the worst offenders, as their acidity eats at the lining. Liquid baby formula contains quite a bit of it; dry formula has less (but not none).
For us, we’ve taken to cooking a big pot of dry beans and freezing them in jars for when we need them. Tomato sauce we buy in jars. Other veggies we buy fresh or frozen. When we’re in a pinch, Eden Foods does not use BPA in its can liners. The cans cost more, of course, but I’ve wasted an extra dollar on worse. I don’t remember the last time we bought soup (which we had stopped buying long ago because it’s so salty).