Are BPAs dangerous?

I have always been very sceptical about the reported dangers of BPA (Bisphenol A) – I never really read anything that was conclusive – but then again I always seemed to buy BPA free drinking bottles for my kids (just in case!).  I guess I was not really convinced about how much of BPA could actully leech into my drinking water or food while cooking.  So I was alarmed and interested by the news headings recently “BPA, phthalate exposure may cause fertility problems” – and “Is BPA Harmful for Pregnant Women?” –  Reading through these articles I realise that although there is a lot of emphasise on the “may” and that nothing is conclusive, there does seems to be evidence that it BPAs can affect male fertility and “may” increase the risk of miscarriage.

This also made me think about the affects BPAs might be having on my young kids. I also came across an article linking BPA with childhood obesity (Chemical BPA linked to children’s obesity) – BPA is known to disrupt your body’s metabolic mechanisms, according to the study authors, which could affect your body’s ability to control its weight. The article also suggest that the affects of BPAs will be greater on children below the age of 6. Once I started reading I kept coming accross mroe and more alarming articles: BPA increases breast cancer risk; prenatal BPAs link to depression; BPAs link to Asthma and many more!

So what is BPA?

Wikipedia says:

“It is a colorless solid that is soluble in organic solvents, but poorly soluble in water. BPA exhibits hormone-like properties at high dosage levels that raise concern about its suitability in consumer products and food containers where exposure is orders of magnitude lower.”

The Food Standards Code Australia says:

“Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in the lining of some food and beverage packaging to protect food from contamination and extend shelf life. It’s also used in non-food related products. People are exposed to BPA because small amounts can migrate into food and beverages from containers. Reports from some animal studies have raised potential concerns that BPA exposure may cause multiple health problems. However the overwhelming weight of scientific opinion is that there is no health or safety issue at the levels people are exposed to.”

It seems that no one can definitely say whether BPAs are dangerous – but I think I will err on the side of caution and try and avoid BPAs as much as I can.

Ways to Avoid BPAs

  1. Eat fresh foods whenever possible;
  2. use storage containers made from BPA free plastic or glass jars;
  3. don’t  heat plastics to high temperatures;
  4. limit canned foods.


 Places to buy BPA free products


Do you know of any other articles about BPAs?  Do you know of some great BPA free products or shops? Please share below.

Posted on Categories All Articles, Help and Advice, PregnancyTags ,

1 Comment

  1. Marina October 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I think there is enough of research to suggest BPA has harmful effects on our health, and its certainly a material I stay away from. Its good to familiarise yourself with all the plastics and the plastic symbols both from a health and recycling perspective. There are other plastics, such as PVC, that are equally harmful as BPA is. Its near impossible to stay away from toxic plastics in everyday living but thanks to consumer demand more and more products now state if they are BPA free which helps, and at least there are certain alternatives at hand. . I found this article a while back which I have kept for my reference (But I have lost the link unfortunately!) Its from a UK site but I believe the plastic numbers are the same in most western countries.

    I have signed a petition at Because apparently Australia has very relaxed regulations in food packaging….I wish all food packaging would clearly state what type of plastic has been used so consumers can at least make an informed decision…..

    Here is an article on BPA and PVC, and the other plastics that are regarded as safer…

    “The toxic chemical that is at the forefront of everyone’s mind at the moment is Bisphenol A (BPA) – a chemical commonly used in the #7 plastics which are known as polycarbonates*, also found in the lining of some food cans. BPA is a known hormone disruptor that leaches at up to 55 times the rate when heated, (something which is frequently done with baby bottles) even when not heated, this harmful chemical migrates into food and drink simply through normal use, scratched and old plastics that contain BPA are particularly big leaches of the chemical. Studies have linked low-dose BPA exposure with such effects as permanent changes to genital tract; increase in prostate weight; decline in testosterone; breast cells predisposed to cancer; prostate cells more sensitive to hormones and cancer; attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders; early onset puberty in girls and obesity.

    Another toxic chemical used in plastics are a group known as phthalates. Phthalates are plasticizers used to make plastic products more flexible. They are synthetic chemicals commonly found in Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) #3 plastics – including food wrap. It is now known that plasticizers in plastic wraps migrate into fatty foods such as meat and cheese . Research has found evidence of a link between phthalates and both liver damage and reproductive failure. There has also shown to be a higher risk of miscarriage among women exposed to high levels of phthalates. Toys intended to be placed in the mouth by children under three years of age and containing some specific phthalates have been prohibited throughout the European Union, however these chemicals are still used in soft plastic toys such as bath toys and squeezy toys, so it is still possible for babies and small children to ingest them. PVC is also known simply by the name Vinyl, and is used as a wipe clean coating on many ‘waterproof’ baby bibs. These chemicals are especially dangerous if toys or bibs are placed in the mouth by babies and small children, because the absorption of phthalates may exceed the maximum daily dose and have a long-term impact on health.

    PVC (#3 plastics) have another nasty lurking, a toxic group of chemicals called Organotin compounds. These chemicals are used as a stabilizer in PVC. They are found in vinyl flooring and harder PVC toys. These have been found to cause hormonal changes and long term effects on the immune system in animals.

    Polystyrene is the third in our list of toxic plastics, categorized as #6 plastic, it comes in two forms, extruded polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam) and non-extruded polystyrene which is a disposable clear plastic. Both forms are commonly used in packaging containers of ‘take-out’ food and can leach styrene into food, styrene is considered a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It may also disrupt hormones or affect reproduction.

    So here lies our list of plastics to avoid – #’s 3, 6 & 7, which are all considered to be toxic.

    But what about the others – plastics #’s 1, 2, 4 & 5?
    Plastics #1 Polyethylene(PET) & #2 HD Polyethylene (HDPE) are considered fairly safe

    Plastics #4 Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE) isn’t regarded as a ‘bad’ plastic. This plastic is considered safe but not very environmentally eco-friendly.

    Plastics #5 Polypropylene (PP) is considered to be the safest of all plastics, this is a robust plastic that is heat resistant. Because of its high heat tolerance, Polypropylene is unlikely to leach even when exposed to warm or hot water. This plastic is approved for use with food and beverage storage. Polypropylene plastics can be re-used safely and with hot beverages.

    Even though it is very difficult to avoid plastic altogether in todays society, there are many safe options. Glass, stainless steel, waxed paper, bamboo, wood, ceramics, earthenware and china are good alternatives. Below are some ideas on how to avoid plastic particularly in regards to babies and children:

    Avoid plastic and aluminium epoxy (bpa) lined drink bottles. Only use glass or Stainless Steel baby bottles and Sippy Cups such as the Klean Kanteen Sippy
    Give your baby toys made from natural fabrics and materials instead of plastic ones
    Store your food and beverages in non plastic containers
    Don’t microwave food in a plastic container and never microwave anything covered in plastic wrap
    Wrap meat and cheese in waxed paper to stop it drying out rather than plastic wrap.
    Get rid of your plastic dishes and cups, and replace them with glass, stainless steel or ceramic/china varieties
    If you have any plastic kitchenware, discard any items that are scratched or worn.
    Avoid buying and using bottled water; filter your own using a reverse osmosis filter instead, and use reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottles like the Klean Kanteen
    When shopping try to avoid food in packaged plastic or cans (the lining of cans contains BPA). Also be aware that the lids of jarred foods can contain BPA on the lining of inside of the lid.
    Make your own homemade baby food, and freeze in stainless steel or silicon icecube trays, or in dollops on silicone baking sheets, then store in airtight glass containers once solid.
    Don’t buy PVC toys, or if you do, check with the manufacturer first to see if they contain phthalates of organotin compounds.
    Do not buy baby bibs made with PVC (Vinyl) wipe clean coatings.

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