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Food Packaging Reported to Be Major Source of BPA Exposure

According to a recent study by the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute, both bisphenol A (BPA) and bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) exposures “were substantially reduced when participants’ diets were restricted to food with limited packaging.”

BPA has been associated with effects on the developing brain, and breast and prostate cancer in laboratory studies, while DEHP has been shown to affect male reproductive development, sperm quality, and male hormone levels in laboratory and human studies.

The study involved “20 participants in five families [who were selected] based on self-reported use of canned and packaged foods.” These families were directed to eat “their usual diet, followed by three days of ‘fresh foods’ not canned or packaged in plastic.”

The results of urinary samples taken over the eight-day experiment reportedly demonstrated a significant decrease in BPA and DEHP metabolites during the fresh foods intervention.

According to the Silent Spring Institute, these findings indicate that “food packaging is the major source of exposure to BPA and DEHP in children and adults, and a fresh food diet reduces levels of these chemicals by half, after just three days.”

If you are concerned about the potential harmful effects of BPA, here are some tips to minimize your exposure provided by the Silent Spring Institute.

Fresh Is Best: BPA and phthalates can migrate from the linings of cans and plastic packaging into food and drinks. While it’s not practical to avoid food packaging altogether, opt for fresh or frozen instead of canned food as much as possible.

Eat In: Studies have shown that people who eat more meals prepared outside the home have higher levels of BPA. To reduce your exposure, consider cooking more meals at home with fresh ingredients. When you do eat out, choose restaurants that use fresh ingredients.

Store It Safe: Food and drinks stored in plastic can collect chemicals from the containers, especially if the foods are fatty or acidic. Next time, try storing your leftovers in glass or stainless steel instead of plastic.

Don’t Microwave In Plastic: Warmer temperatures increase the rate of chemicals leaching into food and drinks. So use heat-resistant glass or ceramic containers when you microwave, or heat your food on the stove. The label “microwave safe” means safety for the container, not your health.