Pregnant women told to avoid BPA packaging

I saw this article this morning. Good advice for pregnant & lactating women in avoiding the hormone mimicking BPA.

Pregnant women told to avoid BPA packaging
By Charlotte Eyre
 
03-Apr-2008 – A US health-advocacy group has warned that pregnant women should reduce their exposure to packaging that contains bisphenol A (BPA) to avoid passing the controversial chemical to their unborn children.

The warning, from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), will serve as yet more negative publicity for packaging companies, many of which use BPA when manufacturing polycarbonates for water bottles, canned soups and drinks, and baby food bottles.

“We don’t want to tell people not to eat canned beans or tomatoes,” said CSPI nutritionist David Schardt. “But at the same time, it makes sense for all parents, and especially pregnant and nursing women, to minimize the exposure of their kids’ developing bodies and brains to BPA.”

The group cites a scientific study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIEH) in August last year, which warned that rats exposed to BPA experienced “a wide range of adverse effects”.

While the influence on humans has not yet been fully studied, the NIEH said that the changes in the animals indicated that BPA may provoke childhood health problems such as early onset of puberty, obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and urogenital abnormalities.

According to the CSPI, these findings are worrying enough to call for pregnant women to boycott packaging products containing BPA.

“In fact, the food industry could make life easier by phasing it out entirely,” Schart said.

Bisphenol A was first studied in the 1930s as a possible mimic of the hormone estrogen in women. The chemical was later developed to make clear plastics for use in the food industry.

Several scientific results have been conducted into the safey of BPA in recent years, and researchers have also linked it to adult health concerns, especially breast and prostate cancer.

In 2007, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) set a maximum limit for human daily intake of BPA of five milligrams per kilo of body weight per day, but stressed that more studies were needed to link the chemical with human health problems.

The Canadian government has also launched a study into BPA, the results of which are expected later this year.

Related Articles:

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  • Pregnant women told to avoid BPA
  • Today Show report on BPA & plastic safety
  • BPA may lead to health problems such as obesity and ADD/ADHD
  • Whole Foods private label canned food contain BPA
  • Canned foods and BPA
  • BPA is found in infant formula
  • Gerber baby food containers
  • BPA and other plastic safety
  • Z Recommends: The Z Report on BPA In Infant Care Products, Third Edition
  • Environmental Working Group: Guide to Baby Safe Bottles & Formula
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    15 responses to this post.

    1. Posted by alison on April 4, 2008 at 3:58 am

      This was interesting but doesn’t help at all because you didn’t say how to know which packaging contains BPA.

      Reply

    2. Posted by Trisha on April 4, 2008 at 10:51 am

      Alison,

      You can check out my other articles, there are all kinds of packaging that contain BPA. Most importantly, avoid anything labled with the #7 recycle number (check bottom of item). Nearly all hard, clear (can be tinted with a color) plastics are BPA and labeled as #7. Nearly all canned food is lined with BPA, including infant formula. Some plastic water bottles are made with BPA, as are many baby bottles and sippy cups. Some fuit and applesauce in plastic containers are also labeled #7. If you come across an item and are in doubt, call the manufactuter and ask if the item contains BPA. Only a yes or no answer is acceptable. Most will dance around and say they comply with the FDA guidelines, but so far the FDA does not prohibit BPA from being used in any item, however, roughly 29 states are pushing for tougher laws around BPA and several other toxic substances.

      Hope that helps!

      Trisha

      Reply

    3. I saw the segment on the Today show about BPA and I am very concerned. I am 6 months pregnant and I did not realize (until I saw the show) that nearly every container I eat and drink out of contains BPA! I do not cook much and get take out nearly every night and usually pick up breakfast and lunch and eat at my desk at work. EVERYTHING is in styrofoam #6 and I have used polycarbonate plastic dribking glasses for a years. Do you think I have done irreversible damge to my unborn daughter and to myself? Cancer in very prevalent in my family. I am very scared. Please tell me honestly what you think and if there are any tests I could take to find out my BPA level (which I just know if VERY high)
      Thank you!
      Katie

      Reply

    4. Posted by Trisha on April 9, 2008 at 7:02 pm

      Katie, congrats on your pregnancy! As for tests for BPA, I know you can test for it, but I do not know how to go about doing so or how much it might cost. You can check with your pediatrician if you have already selected one for your daughter.

      I honestly cannot say how your daughter will be affected. The placenta does a good job of filtering out many things, however, it does not filter out everything. My suggestion would be to stop using items that contain BPA. For take out, ask them to line the container with paper (most restaurants have that thin paper) that will at least minimize the food being in direct contact. If you order frequently from the same place, you can find bio-plastic or corn-plastic containers and leave them at that restaurant and ask them to use those containers for your food rather than the styrofoam. Or you can take the container with you and ask them to wait to box the food until you arrive.

      There are many safe drinking containers, so finding a safe cup is not an issue. Many people use stainless steel cups and reuse them.

      I would not worry to death about this, just make a few changes to limit further exposure — that is the best thing you can do for yourself and your daughter! You cannot change what’s been done, nor can you beat yourself up for something you didn’t know was harmful. But now you are armed with knowledge and know some quick steps to take to limit BPA exposure.

      Additionally, breastfeeding is a great way to help prevent cancer, so if cancer is in your family, you can help your daughter by breastfeeding her for as long as possible. I have many articles on breastfeeding and effects on cancer — it’s really facinating!

      Best of luck!

      Trisha

      Reply

    5. Thank you Trisha!

      Reply

    6. Posted by Dee on April 20, 2008 at 7:11 am

      As I read more about this the more angry I get at our government. I am a teacher, Mother and grandmother of five beautiful grandchildren, I want to know what I can do to get our government to stop producing these products immediately. Who can I contact. Even the schools are now serving milk in plastic containers which I check on Monday to see the number of the containers. If so this effects thousands of children every day! If Canada has pulled and stopped these products because they know the harm it can do to everyone then why hasn’t the USA. How long will we wait before it is too late?

      Reply

    7. Posted by Trisha on April 21, 2008 at 10:32 am

      Dee, Amen to that! It makes me very angry too. Our first defense right now is knowledge. As far as who to contact to make a change, write your congressmen, senators, representatives and even the governor’s office; and encourage your friends, family and collegues to do the same. The more government officials who fight for us, the more likely the federal government will wise up and ban these toxic substances. I am all about a free market, free economy and a people-run goverment, but that in no way should mean companies are allowed to use toxic substances in the products we purchase. That goes for bottles, sippy cups, make up, food, etc. — everything!

      Many states are individually working to ban BPA, phthalates and other toxic chemicals. All we can do right now is right and support or demand these bans.

      It may also help to write large retail stores like Babies R Us, Target, Amazon, etc. and encourage them to stop selling products containing BPA. If there is no market, the manufacturers will stop using these toxic substances because they will not sell.

      Wal-Mart is stopping the sales of BPA-containing products in all their Canadian stores this year and will do the same in the US next year. This really is not good enough. Wal-Mart should stop the sales in the US immediately as well. I realize they are probably trying to sell off their remaiing stock, but if they think BPA is harmful, they should do the right thing and just stop selling it. That also makes me mad!

      Best of luck, and please keep us updated of any response or progress you make.

      Trisha

      Reply

    8. Posted by Katie Mac on April 27, 2008 at 12:56 pm

      Just a comment on the Canadian retail stores ridding the BPA products from their shelves. I am a Canadian teacher and mother of 2 toddlers with another baby on the way. The largest retail stores that sell baby products here in Canada (Wal-Mart, Zellers, The Hudson’s Bay Co, and Shoppers Drug Mart) have all pulled these BPA products from their shelves, with reports that we cannot take a chance with baby products. Many of the shelves in these stores were 100% empty for a short period of time until they were replaced with BPA-free bottles, etc. Born-Free seems to be the biggest seller here (I’m in Toronto). My question is: I have a 10-month old, and a baby on the way, and although I breastfeed until at least 6-7 months, my babies have formula for the next 5-6 months before having cow’s milk. What do I do for formula, since I am worried about the cans containing BPA? Thanks.

      Reply

    9. Posted by Charis on April 28, 2008 at 12:43 am

      Hi-

      I really appreciate you providing this information. Unfortunately , I bet that the US will stock all the stuff that was pulled from Canada’s shelves!!

      Do you know if all canned food liners contain BPA? If not, is there a way to tell? I’m nursing; should I avoid canned food altogether? (I noticed they said “canned soups and drinks” above, but wonder if anything canned might be lined since the food sits in liquid…?

      Thank you!

      Reply

    10. Posted by Trisha on April 28, 2008 at 10:53 am

      Katie Mac, the best way would be to give breastmilk for the full first year. If that is not possible, the Enviromental Working Group did a guide to infant formula — stay away from ready-to-use and concentrate formulas! Those contain the highest amounts of BPA. Powdered formula is going to still have some amounts of BPA, though much less than any canned liquid variety.

      Here is my article on the subject. There is a link to the EWG’s report on BPA in infant formula in the first line of the third paragraph. http://amomsblog.wordpress.com/2007/12/20/bpa-in-infant-formula/

      Congrats on your pregnancy and best wishes!

      Trisha

      Reply

    11. Posted by Trisha on April 28, 2008 at 10:59 am

      Charis,

      Dole so far is the only company I found that does not line their cans with BPA — they use plain tin cans. However, I have to wonder what may leach from the tin? That I do not know, and is a concern I have not yet had time to research, so for now I just avoid all canned goods and honestly, it has not been that hard to do. So much easier than I expected it to be. I also very rarely drink soft drinks — as far as I am aware, all soft drink cans are lined with BPA. Now I have not researched every brand and every metal can, but it is my understanding that pretty much all metal cans housing food or beverage is lined with BPA to prevent leaching from the metal, so instead we have leaching of BPA from the lining — UGH! Makes you want to pull your hair out. If you can’t live without soft drinks, at least those are easy to find in non-metal containers. Right now, sounds like glass is the safest bet.

      Oh, I am willing to bet the same thing — stores will stock the shelves in the US with items they pulled from Canada’s shelves — what a LOAD!!! I think I get more angry about this topic every day anymore. Very frustrating!

      Hope that helps!

      Trisha

      Reply

    12. Posted by Trisha on April 28, 2008 at 11:01 am

      Charis, PS — I can’t remember the source, but I do recall an article saying Cambell’s soups contained some of the highest levels of BPA. Why is it always the “big boys” end up being the worst? Ugh!

      Trisha

      Reply

    13. Posted by Patty on July 24, 2008 at 5:16 pm

      Can you tell me if the boxed broth I see so much of on the store shelves also contains BPA? If not, why wouldn’t this be an alternative. I’ve been eating almost daily the Amy’s Organic soup for several years now. I emailed the company yesterday and was told the following, along with other comments:

      “The presence of BPA is limited to our canned products only.”

      So guess my relationship with this company is over until an alternative packaging is discovered.

      Reply

    14. Posted by Trisha on July 25, 2008 at 9:53 am

      Patty,

      I would call the manufacturer of the boxed broth to be sure, but to my knowledge, it is not lined with BPA. I have been using boxed broth as well. If I find out anything different, i will update the post.

      Thanks

      Reply

    15. [...] toys for Christmas  Cloth baby wipes showdown  US Government says BPA is harmful  Pregnant women told to avoid BPA  Canned foods and BPA  BPA is found in infant formula  Gerber baby food containers  BPA and [...]

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