Bisphenol-A (BPA) is one of the highest volume chemicals produced worldwide. It is used to harden plastics, keep bacteria from growing in foods, and prevent cans from rusting. It is found in products we use every day: baby bottles, water bottles, food storage containers, the lining of canned goods and cash register receipts. (BPA is present in recycled and carbonless copy paper.)
BPA is considered an endocrine disrupting chemical that either mimics or blocks hormones and disrupts the body’s normal functioning. Researchers have linked BPA to developmental and health problems in children, including learning and behavior conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression; early puberty in girls; diabetes; obesity; and heart disease. Babies and children have the greatest risk of injury from BPA exposure, since their bodies are growing and changing so quickly.
BPA can get in our body through eating or drinking foods heated in plastics; eating or drinking foods stored in metal cans (canned foods) or plastics (take-out containers); and touching cash register receipts.
What We Know About BPA
Research by the Center detected BPA in more than 90 percent of maternal urine samples in our New York City cohort. We also detected BPA in over 95 percent of the children’s samples, with greater concentrations in children at both ages three and five years. Data for our cohort suggest an association between prenatal exposure to BPA and symptoms of anxiety, depression and other neurobehavioral problems.
What You Can Do
Avoid plastics in food and drinks.
- Don’t heat food in plastic. Heat food and drinks in ceramic, glass, or stainless steel containers. This includes putting plastics in the dishwasher and microwave.
- Avoid storing food in plastic. Store food and drink in ceramic, glass, wooden, or stainless steel containers. Only use plastic containers or baby and water bottles labeled “BPA-free.”
- Read plastic labels and avoid items marked “PC” or the recycling label #7 (usually printed in a triangle on the bottom).
- Avoid using old or scratched plastic containers or bottles.
- Choose fresh or frozen foods and drinks, rather than canned goods. The cans are lined with BPA to avoid rusting. Replace cans with paper cartons. Try cooking with dry beans, legumes, and grains—it costs less and you can avoid added salt and sugar
Avoid touching receipts from cash registers.
- Refuse a receipt when you can. If you don’t need it, don’t grab it!
- Keep receipts separate. Store in an envelope and not loose in your wallet or purse.
- Wash hands after touching receipts or money.
- Keep receipts away from young children.
- Handle with dry hands and only briefly.
- Don’t use hand sanitizer after touching receipts—these products can increase the amount of BPA that can get into your skin.