Plastics have been used in food packaging for years, but who knew that you could end up eating the chemicals used to make the plastic? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesnt have a problem with a certain plastic ingredient called Bisphenol A (BPA) leaking into your food as long as it stays below ‚safe” levels. But it turns out that even low levels of BPA may increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes according to a new study. The low levels found in the study to increase disease risk are around five times lower than the levels considered ‚safe” by the FDA.
So once again, it seems that the FDA has dropped the ball and it‚ up to consumers to protect themselves. While it‚ tough to completely eliminate BPA from your diet (it‚ used to line the inside of almost all metal cans containing food), you can lower your exposure. Essentially, you want to avoid types of food packaging that will leak a lot of BPA into the food. The main perpetrators are plastic baby bottles and cans containing acidic foods (like tomatoes). Look for acidic foods like tomato sauce in glass jars. As for plastic bottles, BPA is typically found in hard plastics, not the softer types like soda bottles. When it comes to bottles for water (from the tap, please!) or other drinks, glass or stainless steel are good options. Finally, avoid heating food in plastic containers that have BPA in them (or any plastic containers, for that matter), since heat accelerates the leaching process.
There is at least one U.S. food company that forgoes the BPA in its metal cans, but unfortunately for consumers, most companies have not yet switched to an alternative to BPA in canned foods. You can contact the manufacturers of the brands you buy and tell them they should get rid of the BPA in their cans (look for the 800 number on the package).
But there is no excuse for BPA to remain in plastic baby bottles. Canada is in the process of banning the use of BPA in plastic baby bottles and the U.S. should follow their lead.
Food & Water Watch