Many women are aware that BPA poses a considerable hazard to male and female fertility and has been linked to reduced IVF success. If you have been carefully replacing your old plastic food strorage containers with new BPA-free brands you may be a little alarmed by the rest of this article; there is a lot more to BPA-free plastic than meets the eye.
The admirable move to ban BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups in the USA has launched a quest for a BPA-free plastic suitable for food use. As a result, many BPA-free plastic food and drink containers are now being touted as being safer for consumers by virtue of their BPA-free claim.
However, before you climb on the BPA-free plastic bandwagon, you may want to know a dirty little secret of the BPA-free industry. Many BPA-free plastics demonstrate significant estrogenic activity when these plastics are subjected to normal wear and tear. When BPA-free plastic is subjected to heat and dishwashing the percentage of BPA-free plastics with estrogenic activity may rise to almost 100%.
In one study (1), supposedly 'safe' plastics such as PET and PETG demonstrated significant estrogenic activity and astonishingly, some BPA-free plastics triggered even more estrogenic activity than much-maligned BPA.
"In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA (estrogenic activity)than did BPA-containing products."
This study concluded that:
"Many plastic products are mischaracterized as being EA (estrogen activity) free..."
The take-home message here is: try and avoid buying or storing foods and beverages in plastic. Any plastic. Period. And do take note: pre-prepared and fast foods often have considerable exposure to plastic in the production process so minimizing fast food will considerably reduce your BPA exposure.
Items which are labelled BPA-free simply cannot be assumed to be non-estrogenic - including baby bottles - so as much as you can, keep plastic away from your food and beverages and minimize your consumption of fast-foods.
Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011, July 1; 119(7):989-996. Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved
Chun Z. Yang, Stuart I. Yaniger, [...], and George D. Bittner