BPA – that is possibly one of the terms you may be hearing consistently over the last few years. You may have repeatedly been asked by your friends and well wishers to control or avoid the use of the cans for storing foods and cited the reason for BPA.
- 1 What is BPA full form and its meaning?
- 2 What is BPA used for?
- 3 How Does BPA get an Entry into your body?
- 4 So, is BPA Harmful for your health?
- 5 How is BPA Harmful?
- 6 How to Avoid the Exposure to BPA?
- 7 Do you really need to Worry About BPA?
- 8 Conclusion:
What exactly is BPA, what contains BPA and why is it harmful to your body? Slightly into medical sciences and a little heavily scientific, we will cover the topic in a finer detail.
What is BPA full form and its meaning?
BPA is ideally an industrial chemical that can get itself into your food due to the unsafe means of storing food. BPA full form is bisphenol A. The chemical has been consistently used for manufacturing plastics and other resins for almost four decades now.
The chemical was actually discovered in the 1890s. However, it was not before the 1950s that scientists observed its functionality in producing plastics and other containers made of plastic. The chemical BPA finds its usage in the manufacturing of stronger polycarbonate plastics that are resilient enough.
The chemical is used for food containers, baby bottles, and other items of importance. The chemical is also used for epoxy resins as well. The epoxy resins are used for creating an inner lining for food containers in an attempt to protect it from corrosion.
So, BPA can be defined – for the purpose of academic interest as the synthetic chemical that is found in many types of plastics and the inner linings of the metallic food containers.
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What is BPA used for?
Well, now that you are aware of BPA full and its meaning, let us know exactly what contains BPA. Some of the items that would contain BPA have already been explained in the above introduction. If you are looking for the exact list of as to what contains BPA or where is it used, the following listing may form a good option to get a clear idea as to which products have a considerable presence of BPA –
- Canned foods
- Toiletries and bottle
- Items that pack plastic containers
- Thermal printers
- Feminine hygiene products
- Dental fillers and sealants
- Lenses used on eyeglasses
- CDs and DVDs
- Household electronic items
- Sports equipment
However, recent discoveries have made it possible to avoid BPA and alternative products for the same purposes for which the BPA is being used.
How Does BPA get an Entry into your body?
Well, the BPA can get into your body through the means of your food. How? And if it has entered the body, how is BPA harmful? Let us explain.
The BPA containers are made of BPA, so to say. But, all the BPA included within the bottles and other containers do not have all the BPA sealed into the container. This will make some of the parts of the BPA to break itself free from the body of the container. This amount of BPA gets mixed with the food content when you add it to the container.
That would mean the diet is one of the major ways that the BPA is assimilated inside your body. If you are feeding your baby through the bottles containing BPA, you will find a high degree of BPA concentration in their bodies. In fact, researches have indicated that breastfed babies have almost eight times lower concentration of BPA in their body when compared to the BPA concentration in bottle fed babies.
The fact that the BPA levels inside the body are increased on consumption of canned foods has been proved by a recent study where it has been found that the BPA levels in the urine were found to increase by a whopping 1221% on consuming canned food for around five days. Equally important studies have proved that avoiding canned foods for around three days in a row will reduce the BPA concentration by 66%.
So, is BPA Harmful for your health?
Well, that has been a controversial topic for years together. While a group of scientists and dietitians contend that BPA is harmful, while a few other groups negate this finding and claim that they are not as harmful as they are made out to be.
Let us understand harmful effects of BPA on your body and how does it react with your body and its mechanism. That can provide enough idea on what BPA can do to your health if at all it does.
The bone of contention is the fact that the bisphenol A has the same structure as the human hormone estrogen. Since it has the same shape as the estrogen, it can bind to the estrogen receptors and affect the functions that the estrogen handles in your body. Some of the elements that can be affected by BPA include growth, cell repair, fetal development, energy levels, and reproduction. It can also bind with other hormone receptors and affect their functionality as well.
How is BPA Harmful?
Now that we are aware of how BPA can blend with your body functionality, it would have given you a fair idea of how is BPA harmful and how it can affect your regular body functions. However, please note that the harmful effects of BPA have remained controversial as a group of people has maintained that they are not as harmful as they are presumed to be.
It may cause Infertility in Men and Women
The higher concentration of BPA can cause miscarriages. Studies have indicated that the frequency of miscarriages is three times higher in the case of women who have higher levels of BPA in their body. Several studies have indicated the link between the levels of BPA and the fertility issues.
There have been studies to prove that men working in the BPA manufacturing facilities have five times more chances of erectile dysfunction and lesser sex life satisfaction compared to the regular men in the same age group. It has also been shown that higher BPA levels in men can mean lower sperm count and a lesser concentration of sperms. The effect of BPA in women can manifest itself most of the times through lower egg production and difficulty in getting pregnant.
It can Cause also cause Diabetes and Heart Ailments
Studies conducted on a human has also indicated the effects of BPA on the blood pressure and the sugar levels in the body. The surveys conducted indicated a higher percentage of high blood pressure in cases of people with high levels of BPA.
It has been found to have a 60% higher likelihood of developing a heart disease or diabetes. Experiments have indicated to the possibility of a 130% likelihood of type 2 diabetes if you have higher levels of BPA in your body. There has been evidence to indicate the effects of BPA on insulin resistance, which incidentally causes type 2 diabetes.
In any case, there is no direct link between these diseases and BPA. This has been the major reasons for the controversy between the BPA and its harmful effects.
It Can Cause Obesity
BPA has been touted to be one of the reasons for turning you obese. Obese women have been found to have 47 %higher levels of BPA in their body compared to their non-obese counterparts.
While the above studies were specifically based on women, the separate researches on children and adolescents have also provided the same patterns. There have been a few studies focussed on animals, but the effects have not been verified on humans.
A Few Other Health Complications attributed to BPA
There are a few other health issues to indicate the harmful effects of BPA. Some of the health complications can include
- Asthma – If the baby is exposed in the prenatal stage to high BPA levels, you are expected to develop issues of Asthma and other respiratory symptoms. Exposure to BPA in the early childhood is also linked to wheezing in later life.
- Immune System – Immunity function of your body is also found to suffer from an overexposure to BPA.
- Brain Functionality – Studies conducted on African monkeys and other animals has indicated that the brain function is influenced adversely with the exposure to BPA. However, no link has yet been established with respect to humans.
- Liver Malfunction – Higher levels of BPA have been observed to impair the enzyme levels in the liver.
How to Avoid the Exposure to BPA?
Well, BPA and its effects on your body have been a controversial discussion since long. There have been a few studies that have indicated certain harmful effects of BPA, but these studies have not efficiently proved the damage caused.
In any case, given the likelihood of the harmful effects of the products, you would definitely want to check out the options you have to minimize the effects of BPA and lower your risks of an exposure. The following can able a few options you can employ to avoid exposure to BPA in an efficient manner.
- Avoid the Use of Packaged Foods – Make sure you consume food in the whole and fresh form. Canned foods and packaged foods should be a strict No No.
- Use Glass Bottles for Drinking Water – Ensure that you carry your water in glass bottles rather than using plastic bottles.
- Choose toys wisely – Ensure that the toys you buy for your kids are free of BPA. Take care about the toys that your kids would suck or chew on.
- Never Microwave the Plastic – If you are using a Microwave oven, never use plastic for the purpose. Use glass vessels instead.
You can use alternative products like glass, porcelain and stainless steel instead of opting for BPA filled the glass. In any case, due to the awareness created in the minds of the people, several BPA free items are being launched. However, do note that even these products can have issues with respect to hormone disruption.
Do you really need to Worry About BPA?
Well, there have been several studies that indicate the harmful effects of BPA. Of course, the authenticity of these claims is yet to be proved. Even then, it would be a good idea to take precautions.
Although BPA is not completely banned, the usage has already been restricted in EU, Canada, China, and Malaysia. FDA has been involved in the investigations of the issues, but no solid restrictions or guidelines have not yet been imposed. Now that we are aware of a few pieces of evidence available, it may be necessary to check out the usage and restrict it to a good extent.
If you are a pregnant woman, it may be a good idea to restrict or avoid your exposure to BPA laced material. Using the BPA bottles for drinking water occasionally may not be something you need to worry about.
However, changing over to BPA free material may not be too difficult. Whether BPA is indeed harmful or not, we would consider it a good option to get rid of the product if you can.
After knowing the full form of BPA, its meaning, structure, harmful effects on health and its uses, we very much understand that it would be better if one avoids using products containing BPA. One should make sure the product is BPA free before buying any plastic container. Also, one shall try to shift over to glass or steel containers to avoid any risk of BPA content in the plastic.
Thus, BPA (stands for Bisphenol A), is not really safe to be consumed and has easy alternatives for the products you desire be it for your kid or the containers in your kitchen. So, say no to BPA and use non-toxic plastic for storing your eatables.
A mom to 2 kids, Sandhya has been passionate about cooking and home decor since her early twenties. She loves spends more than enough time researching & then buying useful home & kitchen appliances and trying out new recipes.
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