Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that has been present in many hard plastic bottles and metal-based food and beverage cans since the 1960s. Studies employing standardized toxicity tests have thus far supported the safety of current low levels of human exposure to BPA. However, on the basis of results from recent studies using novel approaches to test for subtle effects, both the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health and FDA have some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children. In cooperation with the National Toxicology Program, FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research is carrying out in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about the risks of BPA.
- Look for BPA-free products. They should be labeled as "BPA-free" (see picture). If a product isn't labeled, keep in mind that some plastics marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.
- Avoid cans. Cut down on canned foods/ beverages because most cans are lined with BPA-containing resin.
- No plastic in the microwave. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, advises against microwaving polycarbonate plastics because the plastic may break down, allowing BPA to leach into foods. Thus, to be on the safe side avoid all "Steam in bag" products.
- Avoid heat. Putting plastic containers in the dishwasher has the same effect. The plastic may break down over time and allow BPA to leach into foods. Don't put plastic containers in the dishwasher or at least put them in the top rack (where they belong anyway), use lower washing temperature and turn off the dry heat function.
- Use alternatives. Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead of plastic containers.