Ever since the bad news about bisphenol A (BPA) broke, I have become more and more wary of plastics. Unfortunately, I’ve found out that we can’t seem to do without plastic in our daily lives. If I have to get rid of all the plastic stuff at home, my kitchen would be more than half-empty. So I decided to tackle BPA head on and try to know as much as I can about the enemy. If you remember, BPA is used in the manufacture of plastic and has been found to leach out of plastic containers into our food and drinks. The latest reports indicate that BPA is linked to a lot of health problems ranging from cancer, behavioural and neurological disorders in children and cardiovascular diseases. In this post, I share with you what I know about BPA and the ways to avoid it.
Know your plastics
According to wikipedia, there are 7 classes of plastics used as packaging. If you turn over your plastic cup, you will see a triangular recycling symbol formed by 3 bent arrows. At the center of the symbol is a number and below the symbol are letters. The number at the center is the plastic class type and the letters are usually abbreviations of the plastic names.
I’ve learned that not all plastics contain BPA. The plastics we should pay attention to are plastic Type 3 and plastic Type 7. Type 3 is polyvinyl chloride, abbreviated as PVC or C while Type 7 is polycarbonate and therefore identified as PC but also sometimes with the letter O – short for “other”. All Type 3 and most of Type 7 used BPA during their polymerization process.
The other classes of plastics do not use BPA during manufacturing and can therefore be considered BPA-free. So next time you buy a baby bottle or a sippy cup, you know what to look for.
Look at your food packaging
Not all packaging are marked with plastic symbols. Some cans are lined with epoxy resin that contains BPA. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) gave some recommendations with regards to packaging, as follows:
- Use fresh or frozen rather than canned food.
- Drink soda contained in BPA-free polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. PET bottles are non-reusable but easily recyclable.
- Plastic packaging materials are sometimes not labelled. If you are sure of the plastic type, go for foodstuff packed in aseptic cardboard boxes.
Watch out what you do with plastics in the kitchen
- Do not watch BPA-containing plasticware in the dishwasher.
- Do not place hot hotwater inside plasticware.
- Do not use BPA-containing plasticware in the microwave over.
- Check your shrink wraps and freezer bags. The plastic type should be on the packaging.
- Better still, get rid of all Type 3 and Type 7 plastics from your kitchen. Other types of plastics are simply safer.
Download this helpful brochure from CSPI!