Niagara Gazette

Features

May 1, 2012

Natural Health: Stay free from BPA

NIAGARA FALLS — Bisphenol-A is a toxic chemical that is contaminating our food supply and even though Canada banned this toxic substance in 2010, the FDA is allowing our exposure in the U.S. to continue.

BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that has been linked to early puberty, disrupted reproductive cycles, decreased sperm count and quality, cancer, obesity and heart disease and more. The glands of your endocrine system and the hormones they release are directly related to mood, growth and development, as well as metabolism. Some studies suggest that infants and children may be the most vulnerable to the effects of BPA.

BPA is one of the world’s highest production chemicals and is extremely common in many forms of packaging and other places you would not expect. BPA is found in canned foods and soda cans, all plastics not labeled “BPA-free”, certain tooth sealants, receipts and even currency.  Even though you are not likely to avoid handling currency, you can minimize your exposure by keeping money contained in a wallet and not handling it after you apply lotions, as this would increase absorption. People who microwave using plastic containers are maximizing exposure to BPA.  

According to a study published by theNational Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2010, U.S. adults with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were more than twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease as compared to those with the lowest levels.

When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids. In addition, one way to protect yourself from the effects of BPA exposure is by taking high-quality probiotics or eating traditionally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir. These foods (and supplement) contain “friendly bacteria” which may actually help you break down BPA as well as reduce intestinal absorption.

The National Resources Defense Council filed a petition with the FDA, calling for the ban of BPA in products manufactured in the United States. When the FDA failed to respond, the NRDC filed a lawsuit forcing them to respond. Unfortunately, the FDA’s response was typical as it favored industry over human health.

Thanks to the FDA’s refusal to ban BPA from food packaging, production is estimated to be 4.7 million tons in 2012. BPA manufacturers will likely earn 8 billion dollars.  

Fortunately, all hope is not lost, as many companies in the U.S. have voluntarily removed the chemical from their product.

I commonly tell people to avoid canned, packaged and processed foods as they provide little nutritional value. Minimizing you BPA exposure would be another reason to avoid these types of foods.

Catherine Stack is a doctor of naturopathy and a certified nurse midwife. Her practice is located at Journey II Health in Niagara Falls. She can be reached at 298-8603 or at her website at journeyiihealth.com.

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