I think it’s fair to say that many of us are under the impression that if something is labeled BPA-free then it’s safe to use, be it a bottle, sippy cup or reusable water bottles. New research, however could prove this theory wrong!
So without getting too technical or complicated, basically BPA ((Bisphenol-A) is an estrogenic plastic by-product used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, which can leak into food or drinks from the plastic containers holding them and causing estrogenic activity. Canada declared BPA as a toxic substance in 2010, but to date no other country has followed suit, although BPA has been banned in baby bottles in Europe and the US, many companies have also rolled out ‘BPA-free’ plastic products which are meant to appeal to those health-conscious consumers looking to avoid toxins.
So are we safe? Due to the demands to drop BPA from products, many manufacturers have changed to using a different but maybe equally toxic chemical called bisphenol-S (BPS). Not only does BPS appear to have similar hormone-mimicking characteristics to BPA, but research indicates that it is also less biodegradable, and more heat-stable and photo-resistant than BPA.
Studies have shown bisphenol-S (BPS), is now showing up in human urine concentrations at levels similar to those of BPA. This implies that many manufacturers could simply be swapping one bisphenol for another! While BPS may be less known, it doesn’t make it less toxic.
So what can you do if you want to prevent chemical toxin escaping into your food and beverages? Here are some top tips:
- Switch plastic for glass, particularly if the product is coming into contact with food or liquids and if it is intended for pregnant women, infants and children.
- Discard any plastic teething toys for your little ones and opt for natural wood or fabric ones instead.
- Canned goods are also a major source of BPA, so whenever possible choose jarred goods over canned goods or opt for fresh!
Of course it’s virtually impossible to eradicate your exposure to BPA, BPS and similar toxins, since they are probably in our air, water and food, but you can indeed reduce your exposure significantly by following our top tips as detailed above. To help you along your way, here are some brilliant stores in Hong Kong that stock alternative products from plastics, to get you started.
Baby Central: You can purchase glass feeding bottles, stainless water bottles, great wooden toys and they deliver for free!
Tiny Footprints: They stock glass feeding bottles, wooden toys and jarred baby foods.
Bumps to Babes: Stock glass feeding bottles, wooden toys, and jarred baby foods.
Petit Bazaar: Stocks a range of wooden toys.
And don’t forget the supermarkets – they always stock various jarred goods, be it baby food or something for adults. Also we love using Tupperware containers to store our leftovers, but why not switch to a glass version which are also readily available in all of the supermarkets like city’super and ParknShop.