BPA… chances are you have heard of it, but do you know what it is? BPA stands for Bisphenol A which is a chemical used to make certain plastics and resins (polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins in particular). Plastic containers such as water bottles are often made of polycarbonate plastics. Epoxy resins are often used to coat the inside of metal containers such as cans. BPA has also been found in the breast-milk of mothers exposed to BPA.
So why is BPA such a big deal? There is no doubt you have heard of BPA free containers and probably own a few. BPA has been show to seep into food and beverages when they are stored in containers containing BPA. Why is this something you want to avoid? Though the jury is still out, BPA may cause negative health effects on the brain and behavior of fetuses, infants, and young children.
What should you do if you want to steer clear of BPA? One of the easiest steps is to purchase BPA-free products such as BPA-free water bottles and plastic containers or use alternatives to plastic such as glass. Another step is to cut down on your canned food consumption as the inside of cans are so often lined with materials containing BPA. Lastly, avoid heating polycarbonate plastic containers by avoiding the microwave and dishwasher. Heat may break down the plastic over time causing it to leach into food and beverages.
Overall, though we may not know the extent of damage due to BPA, it is certainly better to play it safe.