How to Create a BPA-Free Kitchen
Many folks are afraid of having BPA in their canned food, plastic containers, and packaged foods. With so many myths out there about BPA, here are the facts so you can feel confident in creating a safe kitchen space.
BPA (or bisphenol-A) is a synthetic compound used since the 1960s used to make certain plastics and resins. BPA is also used for other functions like dental sealants and thermal paper lining. Human exposure to BPA is rather widespread and 93% of people have detectable levels of BPA in their urine.
The plastic coating created by BPA serves as a lining in metal cans and plastic bottles to protect the can or bottle from corrosion or pitting when exposed to acidic foods, like tomatoes or juice. Ultimately, the lining protects the customer from exposure to metals, which can occur when acidic foods come into contact with unlined metal cans or plastic bottles.
There has been some thought that BPA is similar to estrogen and may have the ability to disrupt the function of other hormones in the body, and possibly negatively impact the brain. Many of the studies pointing to risks from BPA were based on small studies using rodents, not humans.
FDA’s current perspective, based on a recent safety assessment , is that BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods. Based on FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging. Further, The European Food Safety Authority (EPFSA) agrees with FDA in their evaluation of BPA, reporting that there is no consumer health risk from BPA exposure.
While no restrictions have been made in regards to the use of BPA, it’s been removed from a majority of the canned food industry. If you’re concerned about BPA in your food, many companies label their products “BPA-free”, and even though they may not all be labelled, a majority of food companies now removed BPA from their linings. If you’re not sure if your favorite canned food, reusable bottle, or packaged product has BPA, you can contact the manufacturer.
How to Reduce BPA Exposure In Your Kitchen
- If you must use plastic, look for those products marked BPA-free. Avoid using plastic containers that contain the recycle codes 3 or 7, numbers which indicate the items may be made with BPA.
- Toss old, scratched plastic water bottles. Exposure to plastic chemicals may be greater when the surface is worn down.
- Avoid microwaving plastic containers or putting them in the dishwasher unless they are labelled microwave- and dishwasher-safe.
- Don't reuse single-use plastics. When used repeatedly, they can break down and release plastic's chemicals.
- Opt for glass, porcelain or stainless-steel containers, especially for hot food or liquids.(Klean Kanteen, Nalgene, Yeti and Hydro Flask make stainless-steel water bottles.)
- As most canned foods are now BPA-free, you can check the packaging for “BPA-free” or call the food manufacturer to check if the company uses it.
- Opt for food sold in glass containers or store in glass containers, jars, or bottles.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.