You’ve cleaned your cabinets of all the mysterious plastics and replaced them with their BPA-free counterparts. You’ve tossed any baby gifts that were suspicious and didn’t have the BPA-free label. Whew! Is there anything else you can do? Yes, as a matter of fact there is. While it’s true that BPA is often found in plastics, there are plenty of other unexpected places where BPA is lurking about.
Here are some tips to help you and your baby stay safe.
Know the facts. BPA stands for Bisphenol A, a chemical that has been used to help plastics harden for nearly five decades. Unfortunately, it is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can affect the way your body produces and processes hormones. BPA exposure has been linked to several physical and behavioral side effects, including disrupting hormone levels in fetuses and adults, behavioral problems in children (especially girls), cancer, and heart problems.
It is important to note that science is still working to pinpoint what levels of BPA are harmless or not. In the meantime, most healthcare professionals advise women to avoid or dramatically limit their BPA exposure before, during, and after pregnancy.
Where is BPA found? You have probably already jumped on board the BPA-free bandwagon when it comes to bottles, sippy cups, plastic plates, bowls and eating utensils. But make sure you look for that label on any plastics you purchase, period.
Other common sources of BPA include:
1. Carbonless receipts. Yes! Those receipts that print out just about everywhere, from your grocery store to the ATM and gas pump, use BPA to keep the ink from smearing. If you don’t need a receipt, don’t touch one. In fact, cashiers who work with registers that dispense carbonless receipts test higher for BPA levels than the general population.
2. Toys. Many toys are labeled BPA-free, so don’t purchase any plastic toy products that may have BPA.
3. Canned foods. Unfortunately, canned foods are another common source of BPA. It is used to coat the lining. Try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
4. Plastic beverage bottles. Most plastic bottles and food storage containers contain BPA unless otherwise noted and #7 plastics are definite BPA carriers. All those plastic bottles are bad for the environment anyway, so this can be your final reason to stop purchasing plastic food and drink containers. Use recycled glass jars or stainless steel containers to tote your water or juice around town.
5. Plastic food containers. Tupperware was a godsend, and most of us don’t remember life without it. However, plastic food storage containers are another source of BPA. Plus, not surprisingly, even non-BPA plastics are being shown to be a cause for concern. Use Pyrex or glass storage containers as much as you can to limit BPA exposure through your food.
6. Cigarettes. If you haven’t quit smoking by now, here is another reason to add to your collection: BPA is used in many cigarettes and is found in second-hand smoke.
7. Formula. Speaking of those aforementioned canned foods, formula is one of them. We strongly encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies. Breast milk is the most nutritious and easy-to-digest food for your baby. Plus, it’s 100% free! However, if you are going to use formula, opt for formula that is marketed in dry-pack containers, rather than the traditional cans.
Once your baby is born, consider using glass bottles, rather than plastic. There are plenty of protective bottle wraps that can be used to protect them from breaking. If you do use plastic bottles, make sure they’re BPA-free.
Contact Overlake OB/GYN for more information on pre- and post-natal health for you and your baby.