Today, we use plastics in almost all aspects of our lives. It is not surprising since plastics are lightweight, sturdy, and lasts a long time.
However, according to researchers, having plenty of plastics around can cause serious health problems. In addition, the chemical bisphenol A, which is commonly found in the products we use, is something to be cautious of.
In this article, we will discuss what BPA is and what are its effects on the body. We will also introduce the tips on how to minimize the impact of BPA on our health.
Understanding What Is BPA
The acronym BPA stands for Bisphenol A. It was created by a Russian chemist during the year of 1891. In the 1930's, BPA was found to be a chemical that can simulate the functions of the hormone estrogen in humans.
Moreover, 1950's became the year when BPA made its way into the industry. It became a major factor in the production of plastics all over the globe.
It is a chemical used to make plastic resins, which keeps metal from breaking and corroding. BPA is found in epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics. As a matter of fact, studies show that BPA can mix into foods or beverages from containers made with BPA.
BPA is known as an endocrine disruptor. It can imitate the hormone of the body and hinder with its production, transport, and secretion. It copies how the hormones behave such as the estrogen.
According to studies, pregnant moms and children are susceptible to BPA.
BPA is mostly found in a water bottle and became a very serious issue, especially for water bottle industries. The president of the company DrinkMore Water, Bob Perini, made a decision to remove polycarbonate bottles from their portfolio.
They substituted their products into PET bottles with ZERO BPA. It is a tough and expensive decision because it costs more than $1 million. Nonetheless, it was a brave and wise decision to make to promote health and wellness for the consumers.
Dangers Of BPA
The controversy about the danger and safeness of BPA has been long discussed and is still being debated as we speak. Some agency and company say, it safe for numerous reasons.
On the other hand, many rebut by showing different facts and figures that it can be detrimental to one's health.
A lot of research was conducted to figure out the real deal about the chemical, BPA. Although, even if how hard we try to convince ourselves and people that it is useful and safe, the effects on one's health are inevitable.
The effects of BPA on our health are hazardous. It causes several health problems to occur, especially if the person is exposed often to it.
Health problems such as cancer, diabetes, and birth defects are some of the most common cases. It can also damage our respiratory system and kidneys.
Here is a list of the most common health risks of being too exposed to BPA.
Breast and Prostate Cancer
Experts believe that excessive exposure to BPA can increase the risk of cancer in the prostate, breast, and other parts of the body.
Furthermore, it is stated in the study that fetal exposure to BPA can cause long-lasting effects on the body organs. This is especially true for babies who can potentially lead to hormone-related cancers as they grow up.
Medical professionals found out that BPA can hamper the effectiveness of chemotherapy during treatment for cancer.
Studies found out that even low-dose exposure to BPA is linked to cardiovascular problems. Examples of which are the coronary heart disease, heart attack, angina, and peripheral artery disease.
BPA from plastic can trigger atherosclerosis, arrhythmia, and changes in the blood pressure.
A French study done in 2013 found out that low yet daily exposure to BPA can cause tooth enamel damage. Although the study needs more research, they have found out that the white marks and brittle enamel on teeth of the 18 children can be signs of BPA overexposure at an early age.
In 2013, the scientists of the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute evaluated the BPA levels in the urine of the 1,326 children in Shanghai.
They have found out that girls who have higher BPA level in their system were twice likely to be obese than the average children in their place.
In a paper published in the Acta Diabetologica stated that people with high BPA level in their urine are found to be linked with a pre-diabetes condition. Meanwhile, this is independent of the risk factors of traditional diabetes.
Interestingly, the study states that regardless of the level of diet and fitness, BPA can affect the glucose metabolism through resistance to insulin, adipogenesis, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
Reproductive Disorders In Both Men And Women
Women Reproductive Disorder
In today’s generation, it is impossible to avoid contact with BPA because it is available almost anywhere. Most of the food items today are packed using BPA materials. Also, BPA is an environmental contaminant.
The scientists from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital published a study in 2013, wherein it shows that the BPA exposure can affect the maturation of egg in women.
Also in 2015, another study was conducted which states that BPA can hamper how the endocrine functions. Such includes the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. It suggests that due to BPA disruption, it can affect ovulation and puberty. In the long run, it can even lead to infertility.
In a study published by the Jilin Medical College of China in 2013, it has been found out that long-term exposure of women in BPA can cause endocrine disorders. Then, it is followed by functional and morphological changes in the vagina, uterus, oviducts, and ovary. Indeed, this is known to cause fertility issues.
In another study done by the University of California, in San Francisco, they have discovered that BPA exposure of female patients can interfere with the oocyte. Furthermore, the health of the oocyte was diminished during IVF. As such, proper implantation and conception can be disrupted.
Men Infertility Caused By BPA
The researchers in the University of Buea in Cameron have studied the effects of BPA in infertility. They have found out various results regarding the reproductive health of the men.
First, BPA can influence male impotence. Massive exposure of men to BPA may increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. There can also be problems with ejaculation and sexual desire.
Second, BPA can affect the balance of the hormone. In adults, this chemical can affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. It can alter the hormones which are known to cause the sperm dysfunction.
It can also prompt oxidative stress in the epididymis and testis. As such, it can suggest antioxidant supplementation which in turn could offset BPA-induced side effects.
Third, Men who are often exposed to BPA can be more susceptible to develop urinary problems and abnormal semen parameters.
Babies At The Womb Is At Risk Of Diseases
Babies in the womb are at high-risk of adapting the negative effects of the BPA. They are at the critical stage of embryo development. It can prevent the proper development of the embryo thyroid.
BPA can produce various defects in babies. Examples of which are the feminization of the male fetus, increased prostate size, atrophy of the testes, disruption of BTB, and shortening of AGD. It also includes the alteration of the adult sperm parameters like sperm density, count, and motility.
Finally, according to the experts, the adverse health effects of BPA can be transgenerational.
Fetal Brain Development
When pregnant moms are exposed to large doses of BPA, their babies’ brain development could be affected. This is especially true during gestation.
Some of the impacts in the developmental stage include DNA modification, interference with the regulation of estrogen, and anxiety after birth.
Similarly, in a study published in 2016, it has been found out that early exposure to BPA can result in a higher risk of developing respiratory problems. Examples of which are asthma and pneumonia.
Type 2 Diabetes And Impact Body Weight
Even low-level exposure to BPA can contribute to insulin resistance. In the long run, it can cause type 2 diabetes. Studies found out that BPA can impact the body weight.
Vitamin D Drain
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to various health problems of both the adults and children today. Some of these illnesses are weight gain, heart disease, arthritis, insomnia, and even cancer.
In a study conducted in September 2016, it has been found out that exposure to BPA can lower Vitamin D levels.
Apart from BPA, phthalates, which can be found in vinyl and fake fragrances, can disrupt the hormone and lower the levels of Vitamin D.
Furthermore, experts agree that hormone disruptors can mess with the active form of Vitamin D in the body, just as how it disrupts the normal functioning of the thyroid.
Meanwhile, if you're worried about BPA, you can follow these simple steps to lessen its exposure to your body:
Tips To Lessen Exposure From BPA
1. Use BPA-Free Products
Manufacturing companies create hundreds of thousands of BPA-free products. The next time you buy products, make sure to be keen and look for the label 'BPA-free.' If you can't see the label on the product, do not panic. Take note that some plastics marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 indicates products made with BPA.
2. Cut Back On Cans
Since most cans are made with BPA-containing resins, there is one solution to do. Lessen the use and consumption of canned foods. Most importantly, cook from raw and scratch to ensure much more healthy meals.
3. Avoid Heat
Advice from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, part of the National Institute of Health, is to avoid microwaving polycarbonated plastics.
Furthermore, putting them in dishwashers is also a big no. Since plastics may break down over time and allow BPA to seep into food and beverages.
4. Use Alternatives
We have to be mindful of everything that we do especially to our health. Instead of using plastic containers for hot food and beverages, substitute them with something more "healthy."
You can use porcelains, stainless steel, and glass containers to avoid BPA in leaching into your foods.
Some of the precautionary methods here mostly require a change in lifestyle. That is a huge decision to make and requires a lot of effort and time. Especially, if you are the person who grabs breakfast with canned food, why eliminate that part of your life? You can actually opt to retain or just minimize the use of it. However, there is one option that can definitely guarantee you the lifestyle you still want.
5. Sports Berkey Water Filtration System
Sports Berkey water filtration system and all Berkey systems with Black Berkey Elements eliminate 99.9% of unpleasant taste and odor, unwanted chemicals, sediments, salts, and chlorine. This water filtration system is designed to diminish heavy metals, toxic chemicals, detergents, pesticides, petroleum-based products, VOCs (Volatile organic compounds), chlorides and trihalomethanes. Most importantly, this product is made from BPA-free materials.
Instant Elimination Of The BPA In Water Bottles
The Berkey water filtration system instantly removes BPA and other unwanted chemicals in water bottles. This water filter utilizes the Ionic Absorption Micro Filtration.
The "Tortuous Path" arrangement gives unique characteristics to the Sports Berkey Water Filter. It offers an expedient and portable filtration system with the use of medical grade technology.
In sum, there is various research that shows BPA can seep into the food from containers and affect the body. Exposure to this chemical is one of the health concerns nowadays, especially to children.
Although according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), BPA is generally safe at low levels. But, they are still conducting a review to support the claim.
In the meantime, you can follow the tips mentioned above and protect your family from its potential risks.