France recently passed a law which will see by the start of 2013 a ban on BPA in food packing destined for children; and by the start of 2014 a ban on BPA for all other food packing.

In June 2010 the Australian Government passed an agreement with key distributors to phase out baby bottles with BPA but no action has taken place with other avenues of contamination – namely food packaging.

Why is this a concern?  What exactly is so wrong with Bisphenol A (BPA)  afterall?

BPA is a known and proven endocrine disrupting chemical (a chemical that disturbs the hormone system).

Friends of the Earth BPA Guide references a 2007 scientific review which linked exposure to BPA with an increased risk of cancer of the hematopoietic system (e.g. marrow, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes), a significant increase in cell tumours of the testes and an alteration of the number of chromosomes in some cells and tissues (potentially leading to mutations and ultimately cancer). Additionally, early life exposure may induce or predispose humans to an increased risk of breast cancer. When exposure occurs during foetal or early childhood development, BPA may increase a person’s susceptibility to cancer by affecting their genetic developmental ‘programming’.

Link to Friends of the Earth BPA Guide

Recent studies have shown that BPA can alter how genes are expressed (i.e. turned on or off) and that “low-dose BPA exposure during pregnancy has multigenerational consequences” meaning it increases the likelihood of chromosomally abnormal grandchildren. (Susiarjo et al. 2007).

On Friday a British news service ran with the headline “Why are so many children being born with sex defects?”  It reported that “one in 50 people (around 1.2 million Britons) are thought to have been born with some kind of disorder of sexual development (DSD) as a result of errors in their genetic code.    These cause abnormalities while a baby is growing in the womb, and range from mild genital abnormalities to ‘intersex’ conditions such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia — where the baby has female and male physical characteristics such as a womb and a penis.    Overall, DSDs causing ‘ambiguous’ genitalia affect an estimated one in 1,000 people.

Link to dailymail UK report

Amazingly, little reference was made to endocrine disruptors and the possible connection between BPA and these alarming statistics.

Fortunately, scientists are now looking into routes of BPA exposure and The Harvard School of Public Health has completed a study investigating exposure via food packaging.

While we’ve known for a while that certain plastics should be avoided  as they can increase the amount of BPA in your body, The Harvard study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use.

The study showed that regular consumption of canned soup may be associated with an increase in BPA levels. Canned soup eaten each day for five days resulted in approx 1,200 percent increase in BPA, compared to eating fresh soup.

Link to Medline Plus report on Harvard Study

Clearly BPA exposure can effect our health and it is necessary for us to take action as individuals as we are not yet protected from exposure via food packaging in Austraila.

Friends of the Earth offer these suggestions to minimize exposure:

  1. Store food in glass, ceramic or stainless steel containers.
  2. Avoid canned food
  3. Buy fresh local products; try to avoid fruit and vegetables grown in plastic covered greenhouses.  (Note:  Although it is not always possible to identify fruits and vegetables grown in greenhouses, eating seasonal products can be a first step and a good way to avoid food grown in greenhouses.)
  4. Plastics to Avoid – No.3-PVC (Polyvinyl chloride); No.6-PS (Poly Styrene); and No.7- PC (Poly Carbonate)9
  5. If you need to use plastic that comes into contact with food, choose safer options where possible.  Suitable plastics are those with a recycling code No.1 (Polyethylene terephthalate or PETE), No. 2 (high density poly ethylene or HDPE), recycling code No.4 (low-density polyethylene or LDPE) and No.5 (polypropylene or PP). (Note:  Plant based plastics are also safe No. 7 – PLA.)
  6. Avoid heating all plastics, irrespective of their recycling numbers
  7. Caution: unlabelled could mean unsafe. Many plastic items are unlabelled and the only way to find out what they are made of is by contacting the manufacturer.

Pure & Green organics packaging declaration

All packaging types used for our organic skincare products are safe for your health and BPA free.

Creams and Lotions                –           recycle code 5 (PP)

Toothpaste                                  –           recycle code 4 (LDPE)

Toothpaste lid                           –           recycle code 5 (PP)

Liquid products                      –           recycle code 7 (PLA) plant based plastic

Caps on liquid products          –           recycle code 5 (PP)

Serum pumps                          –           recycle code 5 (PP)

Serum pump lid                       –           recycle code 5 (PP)

 

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