There has been much more awareness on the dangers of BPA (Bisphenol A) over the last few years. BPA is used primarily to make plastics and can also be found inside canned foods, on cash register receipts and in dental fillings and sealants. Not only should we be concerned about limiting the exposure of our children to BPA, but pregnant women in particular need to limit their exposure as BPA has emerged as a possible toxin, especially during fetal development and infancy.
BPA exhibits hormone-like properties and in 2010, Canada became the first country to declare it a toxic substance. Canada and the EU had banned its use in baby bottles and recently the United States has also banned its use.
There are seven classes of plastic used in packaging applications. Currently there are no BPA labeling requirements for plastics, however, if they are marked with recycle codes 1, 2, 4 and 5, they are very unlikely to contain BPA.
Per the State of New Jersey Department of Human Services, you can limit your exposure to BPA in the following ways:
Avoid plastics with symbol # 3 (PVC or polyvinyl, which contains phthalates), symbol # 6 (PS or polystyrene foam or Styrofoam) and symbol # 7 (other, including BPA).
Do not microwave food/beverages in plastic
Do not microwave or heat plastic cling wraps
Do not place plastics in the dishwasher
If using hard polycarbonate plastics (water bottles/baby bottles/sippy cups), do not use for warm/hot liquids
Use safe alternatives such as glass or polyethylene plastic (symbol #1)
Avoid canned foods when possible (BPA may be used in can linings)
Look for labels on products that say “phthalate-free” or “BPA-free”