In case you don’t know what BPA is, perhaps we should talk about that first. It has been in the news a lot in the past few years. The controversy began in about 2007.

Bisphenol A (or BPA) is an estrogen mimicker. It leaches out of bottles and containers into your food and drinks and causes many health troubles – such as reproductive, immunity and neurological problems… childhood asthma… metabolic disease… type 2 diabetes… cardiovascular disease … and even cancer.

Avoiding this hazardous chemical by buying BPA-Free products seems like the smart thing to do, but is it really?   When manufacturers removed BPA, they replaced it with other harmful chemicals! BPA’s replacements, related compounds like bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF), actually appear to have similar—and sometimes even worse—endocrine-disrupting effects. Just like BPA,  BPS mimics estrogen. Just like BPA, it interferes with the way cells respond to existing estrogen. Just like BPA, it changes cell growth patterns. And a brand new study has found that it does all this even in tiny doses!

Under US law, chemicals are presumed safe until proven otherwise.  The FDA does little testing on our products as there are just too many (note the same applies to cosmetics and many products).  And companies are rarely required to collect or disclose any chemical-safety data. So manufacturers just slap on the BPA-Free label and ship the products out to the marketplace.

And BPS isn’t just found in bottles and containers. It’s found in 100% of thermal cash register and credit card receipts. It’s found in 87% of paper money and 52% of recycled paper. It’s even in the paper made for ultrasound machines which means that even pregnant women and their children are exposed!

And now this toxin is ending up in our bodies.  Researchers have found BPS in the urine of a whopping 93% of Americans they tested!  Many chemicals were found:  PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, brominated flame retardants, perfluorinated chemicals, and more.   In a comprehensive survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found 148 different chemicals in the blood and urine samples of 2,400 Americans. More than a quarter of all the samples contained benzo(a)pryene, a toxin found in automobile exhaust fumes. And nine out of ten samples contained a mixture of toxic pesticides.  Some toxins are even present when babies are born and tested.  Pregnant women beware!

Our bodies were NEVER designed to eliminate these chemicals and heavy metals. Our liver and kidneys cannot easily or rapidly break them down.  And when our body is unable to break down and eliminate these toxins, it stores them away in the liver or in fat cells. Eventually these toxins are released from your fat cells, allowing them to travel through the bloodstream and invade the brain, lungs, heart, eyes, stomach, liver and sexual organs.  Also, these toxins and heavy metals can build up in your joints and tissues triggering excruciating pain and inflammation. They can travel to your brain, where they can cause memory loss, migraines, and premature brain aging. They can invade your heart, where they can cause blood pressure problems.  They can imitate your body’s natural hormones and invade your endocrine system where they can cause estrogen dominance, reduced libido and sexual dysfunction. They can invade your pancreas where they can cause blood sugar problems. They can invade your eyes causing vision problems.

What is a consumer to do?

Maybe it’s to late or hard to avoid plastics completely, especially when you hear about newer, supposedly safer alternatives like tritan copolyester, a plastic used in products made by Nalgene, Rubbermaid, and Tupperware.  It’s free of the all the bisphenols, and according to the manufacturer Eastman Chemical Company, has been verified by third-party laboratories as safe. But in June 2013, the Washington Spectator reported that Eastman was suing CertiChem to put the kibosh on its findings that one of Tritan’s ingredients, triphenyl phosphate, is just as bad as BPA.

The courts ruled in Eastman’s favor later that summer, stating that CertiChem’s claims were false and misleading. But the controversy raises the question of how much we really know about the safety of any type of plastic. “Until we have some idea of what chemicals are added in all stages in making a final product, we will not be able to determine the safety of any plastic product,” says vom Saal. For now, sticking to leach-free materials like glass or stainless steel as much as possible seems to be your best bet. 

Other things to note are that most of our foods (not all fruits and veggies) are packaged. The packaging is NOT tested to see if it is safe.  Many can manufacturers have removed BPA from their cans linings (you can see BPA-free on some cans).

It’s best to prepare meals with fresh and unprocessed products. When buying packaged food, they also may have a look at the packaging size: instead of buying four or six little portions of a certain food (e.g. yogurt), it may make sense to buy one big portion. This will reduce the surface-to-volume ratio, which is directly linked to the total amount of chemical migration. And of course it will also reduce the amount of waste.



Styrofoam contains the chemical styrene, which has been linked to cancer, vision and hearing loss, impaired memory and concentration, and nervous system effects…the list goes on. What happens when you eat hot foods or drink liquids from styrofoam plates and cups is the styrene leaches out of the Styrofoam and into our bodies.

  • Styrene: A petroleum byproduct that can be found in plastics, resins, and Styrofoam. It is a toxic chemical that is used to create polystyrene. CD Cases, food service products, and luggage; you name it, this chemical might be there. Plastic, rubber, carpets, and even packing peanuts all have traces of styrene.
  • Polystyrene: Created from Styrene, polystyrene is a lightweight, insulating material that can be in both liquid and solid form.
  • Styrofoam: This is actually “extruded polystyrene foam,” (EPS) but we just call it Styrofoam. It is made from polystyrene and is used for many things like surfboards, life rafts, bean bags, and of course as disposable plates and cups.

Safe alternatives include: bamboo plates and re-useable utensils, recycled paper, and some corn-based plastics. According to Earth Resource, every ton of 100% Post-consumer waste recycled paper products you buy saves:

  • 12 trees
  • 1,087 pounds of solid waste
  • 1,560 kilowatts of energy (2 months of electric power required by the average US home)
  • 1,196 gallons of water
  • 1,976 lbs. of greenhouse gases (1,600 miles traveled in the average US car)
  • 3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 9 pounds of HAPs, VOCs, and AOXs combined
  • 390 gallons of oil

This information is provided from many sources including Prevention, and Healthy Child/Healthy World and Safer Chemicals.



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