BPA: What it is, concerns about it, and what you can do

By now, you may have started seeing labels on plastic containers and aluminum cans that read “BPA-free.” Or maybe you’ve heard the news stories recently of BPA exposure in pregnant women being tied to asthma in children.

Seeing labels like this and seeing news stories raising concern, you may be wondering what exactly BPA is and what it can do to your health.

What is BPA?

Scientifically speaking, BPA stands for Bisphenol A and is a synthetic compound. It is used in the formation of plastics and epoxy resins. Plastic is a cheap material that can be molded, and epoxy resins are used essentially as coating in products as an adhesive.

What products can you find BPA in?

BPA is known to be found in plastic containers, beverage bottles, and aluminum cans. Extra products which have been found to contain BPA are sales receipts, sports equipment, and discs such as CDs and DVDs.

Does it cause health issues?

This is a complicated question to answer, because of the back-and-forth debate on whether the current levels of BPA used in products is safe.

The U.S. Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) has conducted studies on the use of BPA, and has found no significant problem with the chemical at the levels currently in use.

On the other hand, studies separate from the FDA have been done that prove otherwise, suggesting BPA can cause issues such as cancer. Separate studies have also suggested that the use of BPA can cause issues in young children, one of these issues being asthma.

The FDA has had similar results in their own studies on the effects of BPA on infants and young children, therefore there are rules against using BPA in baby products.

Despite this, there is still the issue on levels of BPA in the mother as her child is still a fetus. Studies separate from the FDA have shown that certain BPA levels during pregnancy could be a cause to wheezing in children.

Like most products, this is an issue that has its proof for both sides. One side says it doesn’t cause health issues. The other side suggests it does.

Here is my take on both sides:

Side For BPA: Most products and most things can cause health issues; it’s a matter of regulating your use of these products and finding creative ways to alternatives.

Side Against BPA: In the U.S. a product is allowed onto the market until it is proven unsafe, rather than the reverse that a product would not be allowed onto the market until it is proven safe.

Solution:

The best thing to do as this debate over the use of BPA in products continues, is to limit your use of products that contain BPA.

Instead of drinking from water bottles, drink your city’s tap water as long as it’s safe to drink. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, then buy a water filter. If you need something portable to carry your water in, purchase a glass water bottle.

Avoid buying canned foods, even if the container says it’s BPA-free. An example of a way to do this is instead of buying canned beans, buy dried beans. Stores such as Whole Foods offers options to pour your bags of beans yourself. There you may run into the issue of having to fill up a plastic bag, so when you get home pour the bag of beans into a glass jar, and wash the beans before using them. Another way to do this is to buy fruits and vegetables fresh instead of from the can.

It isn’t expected to completely stop eating canned food, but if trying to avoid BPA, the best thing to do would be to eat fresh. If you are going to purchase canned food, then it would be best to opt for the cans labeled BPA-free.

The same thing goes for frozen food that comes in plastic containers. If you are going to purchase frozen food, be sure to take it out of its plastic container before heating up. Opt for microwaveable ceramic plates when heating food in the microwave.

When it comes to food storage, quit buying plastic containers. Store food in glass jars and glass containers.

Shopping List

Water filter

Glass water bottle

Dried beans

Fresh fruits & vegetables

BPA-free canned food (if still planning on purchasing canned food)

Ceramic plates

Glass jars

Glass containers

What is Water Privatization?

Recently the public has raised concern over water privatization. With private organizations seizing control over this necessary good, the question lingers of what is going to happen to public water supply.

First, let’s clarify what exactly it means for water to be privatized. There are three different sectors – private, public, and non-profit. Non-profit sectors are basically philanthropy groups. If water would be owned by a philanthropy group, the group would make no profit. The purpose then of that non-profit organization would be to supply water to the public with no profitable benefits.

The public sector is a branch of government that is held accountable to supply goods to the public. An example of this would be safety. The police force is a part of the public sector. What it means for water to be provided by the public sector is that the government holds this sector of government responsible for supplying water to the public.

The reason this is much different from the private sector, is that when a good is privatized it is used in order to make profit. A part of making profit is that the price of goods can be increased and decreased, and different areas can have higher priorities than others based in which area tends to reap the most profit. What it means for water to be a good owned in the private sector is that the price of water can be chosen by a private entity over a public entity.

Why is that so bad? Well, if the private sector has ownership over water, the price of water can go up, making it less accessible to the public. The poor may not be able to afford the water, therefore may not be able to receive any water.

The private sector has claimed to use the water for areas experiencing droughts, including areas in other countries. While this sounds like an effort a philanthropy group would make, it is important to pay close attention to the fact that it is not a philanthropy group doing this but a private organization. If the motive of a private organization is to reap profit, how exactly do they plan on selling water in poor areas? If the price of water is higher in order to make profit, the poor may not be able to afford this water. The solution to this is to focus selling the water to areas that will be able to afford it.

This leaves the poor areas experiencing drought unable to afford water and therefore unable to access water. Well, that’s where philanthropy groups come in. But why would it make any sense for certain areas to have to pay a high price for a necessity if other areas either get their water for free or at a deducted price through philanthropy groups or do not receive any water at all because it is too costly?

Bottled water companies are already an example of privatized water. Bottled water is no different from safe tap water, because bottled water typically comes from municipal water supplies, not the springs the companies tend to advertise. Have you ever noticed how much more expensive it is to purchase a water bottle than it is to just fill up a glass of water from the sink (as long as your city’s water is deemed safe to drink without filtration or boiling)?

Now imagine a city’s supply of water. Imagine how the cost of water would go up if it were to be privatized. While water privatization may have positive impacts, the negative outweighs the positive. Water privatization would only lead to higher water prices and less accessibility to water.

UPDATE 9.9.14

Living Earthly is still up and running! Without taking environmental courses in school and focusing on finishing up my general education courses over the summer, I eventually ran out of inspiration and ideas for articles and for daily tips.

But now that school has started back up and I have began my political courses and my internship for the Everglades, I am gaining ideas for the blog and a plan for completing blog posts. Unfortunately I will no longer be doing daily tips because I need to focus on producing actual articles for the blog. But I hope what I have already provided for you since I began the blog in April has been a good introduction to Living Earthly and has been a good basis to prepare you for the articles I will begin posting.

The articles will still be environmental and I will begin to discuss actual issues. I’ll be discussing both current events and ongoing events depending on what interests me and also what you are interested in reading about.

As for how often I will be posting, it really depends on what issues I am focusing on in my articles. Some will take longer to write about than others depending on how much research they require along with whether or not I will need to conduct interviews. I am currently working on an article, and I will determine how often I will be posting after I produce a few articles so I can develop a realistic idea of how long it will take me to write each one.

Now moving onto a diet update. I have gone back to eating meat and animal products. Although I was not originally happy about this decision, I had to change my diet due to health reasons. I do still believe that it is possible for others to be vegan and vegetarian and encourage those interested in the diet to try it. But I also believe it is important to pay attention to your health, and unfortunately while this diet can be healthy, it is not healthy for everyone. Everyone’s bodies are different and it is essential to pay attention to what your particular body needs.

Despite my diet change, I may still post about vegetarianism and veganism. So if you are still interested in reading those articles, comment below letting me know. Anything you are interested in reading about, feel free to let me know through the comments and I will take your ideas into consideration.

I’m looking forward to writing again, and to producing actual articles for Living Earthly. Writing and the environment have both always been passions of mine, and I’m excited to begin focusing on these two interests again.

Tip of the Day 7.24.14

Do not purchase extra beauty products (such as makeup, hair supplies, etc.) immediately when running out of them. Make do with what you already have, and continue to purchase it next time you run to the store or even later than that. In other words, evaluate how desperately you need each product you have and the products that are less essential make as a fun purchase instead of a “must-get-now” purchase. This will save on gas and help shift your view to a more sustainable one.

Tips of the Day 7.23.14

Choose one day a week to distance yourself from technology (turn off the TV’s, stay away from the computers, and avoid your phone.)

 

Never let a pet loose if you choose to not keep it anymore. Always look for a new home for the animal. This doesn’t only apply to cats and dogs, but even small animals such as mice or hamsters.

 

Tips of the Day 7.18.14

When leaving the house for a long period of time, turn the air conditioning or heater off or make it use less power by changing the temperature (higher for air conditioning, lower for heater).

 

Instead of leaving phone plugged in to charge all night, choose a time of day to charge it up until it is fully charged to use less electricity.

 

For a nice, romantic dinner instead of dimming the lights, use candles. Just be careful and never leave the room with the candles still lit.

Living Earthly YouTube Channel!

About a week ago, I started a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle YouTube channel to accompany my Living Earthly blog! I’ll be posting about cruelty-free products I use, along with cooking videos, makeup and hair tutorials, DIY projects, and much more!

So far I have two videos up on my channel, Part 2 of the Best Friends Tag with my friend Meghan, and a Get Ready With Me showing how I prepared my hair and makeup for the Tag video.

Check out my first two videos and subscribe for more videos to come!

Best Friends Tag:

Get Ready With Me: