BPA Replacements: Not As Safe As You Think

Filed Under Bisphenol-A, Product Safety 

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soda-canIt’s been a while since I discussed BPA (Bisphenol-a) here on the site but I think now is a good time to refresh everyone’s memory on the topic.  It’s been years since we as consumers managed to get BPA a topic of concern for companies who use it.  We changed things with our dollars and our words.  We don’t want hormone disruptors in our products.  Period.  So in the last few years companies have scrambled to phase out BPA to meet our demands. The problem is, do we trust these companies to now have our best interest? Or are they just looking to bandage the situation to protect their investments.  It depends on the company.

Some companies have tried to find alternatives to BPA and they can now tout “BPA Free” on their labels and be saved in the eyes of their buyers.  But before you buy into the safety claims there are things to remember.  BPA was used and severely under tested before it became a mainstream component.  It’s replacements are not looking much better.   A chemical called Bisphenol-S (BPS) was used to replace BPA in mainly cash register receipts and other products.  However, studies are showing that it too, has the same type of hormone mimicking ability as BPA.

This is not surprising news to me at all.  I do encourage people to choose BPA free options, but I think now that we have a better grasp on the dangers of chemicals and the materials around us, we can change our lifestyles to avoid more chemicals, rather than specific ones.

Looking Back: BPA Crash Course

Well, Now What Do I Avoid?

BPA Free doesn’t mean a product is perfect, and it also doesn’t mean there is an equally dangerous chemical lurking in it’s absence.  BPA and BPS lurk in cash register receipts, canned food, soda cans, and on paper money – not just baby products like we once thought.  It can be drastically reduced with some easy changes to your life style.

  • Choose glass over canned when possible. It is true, lids on glass jars can have some traces of BPA from the coating but the levels of BPA in a glass container versus a can are substantial.
  • Choose fresh or frozen. Frozen veggies are sometimes flash frozen right after harvest so they maintain a higher nutritional value than canned. Or scrap it all and buy fresh… even better, fresh organic.
  • Shop locally: Farmers markets and farm stands are a great way to get produce without the packaging.
  • Decline the receipts: If you don’t need it let them know.
  • DIY Soda: If you must drink soda, buy in glass or try making your own.  I hear the Soda Stream is pretty cool.
  • Look for safer or natural materials in cookware, kitchenware and food storage.

What steps are you making to avoid chemicals in your life?

Posted by: SafeMama Kathy on January 23, 2013


8 Responses to “BPA Replacements: Not As Safe As You Think”

  1. Brittany @ The Pistachio Project on January 23rd, 2013 10:15 pm

    Thank you for writing this up. I agree that the replacements for BPA are really no better than BPA. I avoid cans and plastics completely. Receipts are still are hard one to avoid completely.

  2. Kim on January 23rd, 2013 10:32 pm

    Safe Mama, I’ve been wanting to ask you about this for a while…. In order to rid my kitchen of plastics, I recently bought a bunch of stainless steel containers that I had planned on using for my son’s lunches. They do have plastic lids, which I was not going to put in the dishwasher. However, when the containers arrived, they had that scary CA Prop 65 warning on them. I’ve been told that the Prop is overbearing and that I should ignore it, but I’m not so sure. I haven’t used the containers yet. My son is 2, so I can’t send him to school with glass containers. Would you pease give me some advice? I did contact the company, Home Solutions, for more info and they were less than helpful. Thanks!

  3. Lindsay on January 24th, 2013 11:01 am

    This really underscores the need for better federal laws on toxic chemicals. Until Congress passes the Safe Chemicals Act and a ban on BPA in food packaging, we’ll be playing chemical whack-a-mole. It’s really outrageous that the industry keeps moving a molecule and then calls it safe. Consumers need to be more savvy, but more importantly Congress needs to act!

  4. Diana on January 24th, 2013 3:17 pm

    I wrap my kiddos snacks in parchment paper then put in stainless steel containers. I do this because the only thing I truly trust is glass not to leech. this way…when I send cut up fruit etc…at least I feel like there is one more layer of protection….just a thought..or you could wrap in wax paper…just make sure its the real wax paper and not some other non stick toxin

  5. Rita on January 24th, 2013 3:36 pm

    In reply to Kim, if you are concerned about the plastic lids, there are containers made with stainless steel lids as well. LunchBots (http://www.lunchbots.com/) makes a variety of stainless steel lunch containers with stainless steel lids. Note however that the lids fit snugly, but are not watertight. They do also have a line of thermal containers and click top containers with lids made of polypropylene and silicone seal which are watertight.

  6. Alicia {The Soft Landing} on January 24th, 2013 4:08 pm

    Thanks for the great tips and the heads up on this new study – I hadn’t seen it yet!

    I definitely agree that the newer replacements created specifically for BPA-based plastics just haven’t been studied enough (and the ones that have aren’t returning positive results).

    I’d also like to point out for folks like Kim that there are a couple of plastics that have been used – and studied – for an extended period of time that are considered safer options. For example polypropylene has been specifically chosen by trustworthy companies like Thinkbaby, who studied the estrogenic activity to confirm its safety.

    So while glass and stainless steel are the best choices, don’t be fearful of using safer plastics when there’s not another option (as in lids and non-breakable baby bottles).

  7. Kld on January 24th, 2013 9:43 pm

    Thank you for your BPA article.
    I also have questions about the CA prop 65 warnings, similar to those listed in the previous comment. Any chance you may be doing an article on this topic in the near future?

  8. Heidi Hollenbach on January 25th, 2013 5:26 pm

    I have a question, too. I use BPA free plastic dinnerware and cups for my toddlers (who throw things!). I found some stainless steel options over at Mighty Nest. I am also wondering about silicone. I serve my toddlers hot items, like oatmeal and tomato soup and I am wondering if it is safe to pour hot liquids into any kind of plastic. Serving hot food in stainless steel bowls seems unsafe (too hot for little hands). I’d appreciate your advice.