Body of Evidence report
See our latest report on Bisphenol A (BPA) Published 14th May 2013
Body of Evidence
An overview of the low dose effects of Bisphenol A in relation to breast cancer.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a man-made chemical and was originally used to enhance the growth of cattle and poultry! It was discovered to mimic oestrogen in the 1930’s and was briefly used as an oestrogen replacement for women before being replaced by Diethylstilbestrol (DES) which was eventually withdrawn due to concerns about its impact on women’s health. During the 1950’s the chemical industry discovered BPA was useful to harden plastics and it is now used in a whole range of products from computer and mobile phone
How does it get into my food and drink?
BPA is found in a wide range of food and drink packaging from microwave ovenware and storage containers to water and milk bottles. It is used to make plastic tableware and cutlery – popular with for toddlers and young children. BPA is also used to make the “epoxy resins” which line tin cans such as those used for baked beans, soup and tomatoes, fizzy and alcoholic drinks. Scientific studies have shown that BPA can leach out of products, especially when heated or damaged during dishwashing. Therefore BPA is getting into the food and drink we consume.
How does it affect my body?
Studies indicate that most of us have detectable levels of BPA levels in our urine and many scientists agree that diet is an important route of exposure to BPA. The problem is that BPA mimics oestrogen, which is known to affect the development of mammary glands and has been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer. BPA has also been linked with prostate cancer, endometriosis, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and effects on brain development and behaviour. Unborn children, babies and young children are particularly susceptible to early exposure to BPA and some studies have linked pre-natal exposure to BPA
How can I reduce my risk?
- Find alternatives to tinned foods and look for BPA free tins. Some whole food or organic food stores may stock BPA free tinned food.
- Never store leftover food in tins. Empty the contents into a non plastic container and keep in the fridge.
- Throw out old plastic plates, beakers, cups and cutlery, especially those that are scratched or have been through the dishwasher or microwave a number of times.
- Replace lunch boxes, food storage containers and drinks bottles with BPA free versions.
- Never put PVC or polycarbonate plastics in the microwave. The heat will increase the likelihood of BPA or other nasty chemicals leaching out into the food. Decant the food into non plastic microwave safe container.
- Ask your retailer what BPA free products they have in store.