BPA 101: Is this toxic chemical hiding in your pantry?

Could a toxic chemical that’s been linked to cancer, childhood obesity and even autism be hiding in your kitchen? If you eat packaged foods or even store leftovers in plastic containers, the answer might be yes. Bisphenol-A, most frequently called BPA, is an industrial chemical that’s been used to harden plastics for more than 40 years. It’s found in medical devices, water bottles, dental sealants and in canned foods. Given its ubiquity, this chemical is nearly impossible to avoid—but you can limit your family’s exposure. Here’s what you need to know.

Where is BPA found?

The best way to start cutting BPA is to take a closer look at how you’re storing food and what you’re buying at the grocery store. The resin made from this chemical is used to coat the inside of metal cans and in some bottle caps as a protective sealant.  Yes, that means soup, tuna, tomatoes, and virtually anything else that’s sold in a can is likely contaminated. If your plastic containers have a recycle code of 3 or 7, they also are likely made with BPA.

Why is it bad?

Research has shown that BPA seeps from packaging into the foods and beverages we eat. More than 90 percent of us have this chemical in our bodies right now, according to WebMD, and we’re still learning how it’s impacting our health. Though the Food and Drug Administration once said the chemical is safe in low doses, in 2010 the agency did U-turn and now has expressed “some concern” about the potential effects on the brain, behavior, prostate, infants and children.

What can I do?

Luckily, the natural foods industry is aware of the potential threats and is creating BPA-free packaging. All of our Made In Nature products come in BPA-free bags. When buying other goods, look for your pantry staples in glass containers, Tetra Paks and BPA-free marked cans. Avoid storage containers  with the recycle codes 3 or 7 and never reheat food in a plastic container. These simple steps are an easy way to significantly cut your exposure and protect your family.