BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a chemical used in almost every type of food packaging to extend shelf life, make the product more durable, and withstand extreme temperatures. But it’s also been linked to plenty of health concerns, the newest concerns for pregnant women in particular. In addition to the functionality of BPA, it is also linked to increase risks of cancer, heart disease, and reproductive abnormalities.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) released a paper this week advising pregnant women to avoid BPA when possible. “Pregnant women should reduce the use of foods and beverages in cans and plastic containers to minimize exposure to chemicals including BPA as part of a safety-first approach,” the RCOG said in statement.
The RCOG also said in the statement that fresh foods generally contain fewer, if any, non-food chemicals than processed and packaged foods.
Although it is not banned completely, the government has made small steps in banning BPA from drink packaging, like in baby bottles. Recently, Congressman Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts has taken action with the introduction of the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2013, which would prohibit any BPA in any food packaging or reusable food containers. BPA has also been linked to increase risks of cancer, heart disease, and reproductive abnormalities.
The EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) site has a “Guide to BPA”, which includes tips on how to avoid the products with the highest BPA levels. Tips included avoiding canned food, repurposing hard plastic containers, and saying no to receipts (40 percent-receipt paper is coated with BPA).