Happy Herbivore Blog

What is BPA?

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

When we did a post about canned and frozen foods, several people left comments about BPA, which sparked questions like: What is BPA? Is it really harmful? How can BPA be avoided? 

We decided to research the topic and this is what we learned:

Bisphenol A, BPA, is a hot topic these days. Even the FDA and NTP (National Toxicology Program) have expressed some concern regarding the adverse health effects of BPA.

Where can you find BPA? Where does it exist? BPA can be found in plastics and canned goods, although not all plastics and canned foods contain BPA. More and more companies are even advertising BPA-free products.

Human exposure to BPA is considered to be widespread, with it being used for and in so many things. For example, BPA is used to make recyclable water bottles, baby bottles, plastic containers, paper receipts, to coat old water pipes, line metal cans, among other uses. 

Ways to avoid BPA:

  • buying canned goods and plastic bottles labeled "BPA-free"
  • not microwaving or heating liquid in plastic containers
  • not washing plastic containers in the dishwasher
  • throwing out plastic containers with scratches or other damages

Currently BPA is considered to be "safe" for use in food-related packaging by the FDA, however there have been several studies that show adverse health effects in animals, which has raised some concern. There are more studies being done, but our philosophy is it's better to be safe than sorry and avoid BPA until more studies are in.

Keep in mind that BPA can leach from plastic bottles and metal cans, and from other products, into our food and liquids (We found mixed information on how and when it leaches i.e. if it can leach any time or only when it's heated, etc. so we assume it leaches, period). However, it is this exposure (leaching) that is causing widespread concern.

Due to high public demand, more companies are producing BPA free products. The FDA is also working with companies for developing alternatives to BPA.

Hopefully, we will know more from these new studies soon, but if possible - use BPA-Free products and other alternatives (such as metal or glass water bottles) when possible. 

For more information about companies that are going bpa free, click here.

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