Beyond Everyday Products
It is not typical to actually think about the everyday products we use, day in and day out. Yet, I started to assess my cabinets and drawers.
Sad state of affairs, my friends.
- Zip lock bags
- Plastic cups
- Laundry detergent
- Dishwasher detergent
- Paper towers
- Coffee filters
- Measuring cups
- Water & baby bottles
- Canned foods
- plastic silverware
- paper products
If you have an infant, you probably have been alerted to NOT buy bottles with BPA.
But what is it?
Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in some food and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment, and medical devices. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some dental sealants and composites may also contribute to BPA exposure.
The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet. While air, dust, and water are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure.
Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. The degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container. BPA can also be found in breast milk.
One reason people may be concerned about BPA is because human exposure to BPA is widespread. The 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of 2517 urine samples from people six years and older. The CDC NHANES data are considered representative of exposures in the United States. Another reason for concern, especially for parents, may be because some animal studies report effects in fetuses and newborns exposed to BPA.
Tips to avoid your exposure (Besides NOT buying products made from BPA)
- Don’t microwave plastic
- Plastic containers have recycle codes on the bottom. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA. (Good to know!)
- Use glass, especially with hot foods or liquids
- limit your canned food intake
And although in July 2012, the FDA amended its ruling on BPA (BTW: FDA ruling on this came after it was already a voluntary industry practice), and prohibits BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, make sure if you are using hand me downs, or bought from a garage sale, they are BPA- free.
Interestingly enough, it is still allowed in other food products and containers. Why is that? I’ll give you a guess…
Did you say money? Yes, it has been reported that BPA-free cans and containers cost more. But, how much more?
I came across this post, and thanks to this, here is a list of companies that make BPA-free cans:
Eden Organic (which by the way, I am a fan of this company) made the list. Check them out. I have found their organic line to be of good quality.
Trader Joe’s also made the list, but NOT all of their canned foods are packaged in BPA-Free cans!
I am glad that in the post, it was pointed out that although the belief among many is that: All products labeled with the Trader Joe’s label is void of GMO’s and other offenders, is just NOT an accurate statement.
A call to TJ’s customer relations reveals that canned corn, canned beans, canned fish, canned poultry, and canned beef at Trader Joe’s are all packaged in BPA-free cans. However, any other products that contain corn or beans or fish, etc. and other items — for example in soups or chilis — are not in BPA free cans, the company said. There’s no labeling here, either.
I recently had a discussion with one of the managers about this. I had some questions about one of their Trader Joe’s labeled salsas. It contained corn, but the label didn’t say organic (which to my knowledge is the only way you can avoid GMO corn). He did admit that that may be the case, but Bt corn is safe. Ok, his opinion, but that doesn’t mean it is GMO free.
I have found many items you can buy in a glass container rather than a tin can. Tomato paste, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes to name of few.
Frozen vegetables that you “steam in the bag” with the microwave, might want to reconsider doing that. Buy fresh produce whenever possible. Steaming in a shallow pot (with a steam basket) is super easy and quick.
A few items I definitely should have switched a long time ago are: zip lock bags, coffee filters, straws and dishwasher detergent.
Conventional zip-lock bags, which we pack our lunches in, pack our kids food in, contain BPA. So, it is not allowed in baby bottles and sippy cups, but what about for the toddlers whose food goes in those said bags, everyday for lunch? and if you are wondering, NO they are NOT more expensive than the top brand ziplock brands. Easy switch. I got some 365 brand 100 count sandwich bags for $2.69 recently.
Update: try using stainless steel and glass containers over plastic.
Coffee filters– ok, so what we strain the water and beans through, is filtered with bleached filters?! Ugh. The craziest part of this is: the brown, NON-bleached ones, are LESS money than the white ones! Or in some stores, the same price. The problem? Most grocery stores do not sell them. I found some at Whole Foods for $2.99 for 100 count.
I have also started buying organic espresso beans. So many stores sell them now and they are the same price as most of all the conventional brands, some are more, depends on type of bean and where the bean is from. But, again, organic just means, no synthetic pesticides or herbicides were used in process. So, basically the same price as the Starbucks espresso I used to buy. Bye Bye Starbucks. It also dawned on me (and I will ask the next time I go into one) do all coffee shops use bleached filters?
Straws: If you know me, you know I like to drink out of straws. Well, those too have BPA. There are actually straws made out of non-GMO corn that are compostable. I actually just bought some glass straws and am a big fan. Plus, more eco-friendly.
Dishwasher detergent (and laundry detergent): the main culprit? Phosphates and artificial dyes.
Seventh Generation is a revered company for cleaning products
- Chlorine-free natural dishwasher detergent gel
- Phosphate-free dish detergent
- Non-toxic automatic dishwasher gel
- Natural dishwasher detergent gel contains plant-derived enzymes
- Biodegradable dishwasher gel formula
- Scent derived from whole essential oils & botanical extracts (Lemon)
Kleenex, toilet paper, paper towel: most all contain bleach. Have a cold? Blow your nose with some bleach.
You can buy recycled paper, that is bleach-free. There have been recent reports that no toilet paper is toxic free, but buying recycled tp not only saves trees, but at some point, we are going to have to think of the environmental consequences.
Well, how does your cabinets stack up??
Before I leave you, I found this last article, about a new form of BPA (seriously?) Apparently, it is just as harmful and is not labeled (yet).
I read Canada is one of the only countries who have prohibited the use of BPA, but apparently BPS (bispherol-5) is now what has replaced most BPA-free products.
So,why would I spend the time writing the post about BPA-free products and then tell you at the end, that BPA-free might not even be the answer? SO YOU KNOW!
Because I seriously just wanted to be thorough and make sure I was hitting on the main points, and then I stumbled on some information on BPS. Don’t be discouraged or just say, it doesn’t matter. Wait, did you just cue the music for: I DON’T CARE to play in your head?
What I am saying is- It is important to read labels, research the companies you do buy from, and like with our iOS, updates occur. I know, I know. It can seem daunting… that is why this blog was created. I will try to bring you some of the latest news, updates and data for you to explore. Plus, think of it this way, the more public awareness the more informed people can be and the better to fight against these things.
And on a final note, maybe we should all use GLASS whenever possible. Due to length of this post already and the time, I will post later some of my new glass product finds!
Also, for those of you who do NOT think (food and product) LABELING laws are important or necessary, I’d be interested to hearing why you feel that way.
**Stay tuned for a future post on more information on the different types of plastics.