BPA—What it is, How to Avoid it

Google “BPA news” and the laundry list of articles that pops up is enough to take any pregnant woman’s breath away. Just last week, the presence of BPA (or bisphenol A) has been linked to breathing problems in kids with prenatal exposure to the chemical. So – what exactly is it, and why does it pose such a danger?

BPA is an industrial chemical found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. This means the chemical is often found in water bottles, food can linings, bottle tops, baby bottles – even water supply lines and dental sealants. If a bottle or food container has a #7 stamped on the bottom, it is likely to contain BPA.

Since a small amount of packaging materials can migrate into the food and drink it contains, especially if the container is heated, there has been an increased public awareness about the safety of ingesting the chemical. According to the FDA, there have been many exploratory studies on the dangers that BPA present. These studies link BPA exposure to a variety of health problems such as reproductive disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

During pregnancy, it’s especially important to avoid exposure to BPA as it can impact your health and your baby’s health. Minimize BPA exposure by:

  1. Avoid eating canned Fruits and Veggies, And Instead Opt For Fresh: Because BPA lines the cans in which these foods are packaged, you’re better off avoiding them. Fresh fruits and vegetables are so much healthier and tastier anyway, so opt for heading to your local farmer’s market and grabbing what’s in season!
  2. Skip Drinking Water That’s Bottled In Plastic: Instead, go for glass, stainless steel or BPA-free plastic bottles.
  3. Don’t Microwave Your Food In hard Plastic Containers: Much has been made in the news lately about polycarbonate plastics seeping into food when heated. To be safe, store your food in glass, stainless steel or BPA-free containers and never put plastic in the microwave. If non-plastic substitutes are unavailable, follow this rhyme to help you remember which plastics are safer: 4, 5, & 2 – all the rest are bad for you!
  4. Avoid Smoking And Secondhand Smoke: Yes, this is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. Women who were exposed to secondhand smoke had higher BPA concentrations than those who weren’t.

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