WTH is BPA?
Ah, another one of my motherly manias…plastic. To be honest I have really mixed feelings towards this substance. On the one hand it’s so damn convenient and cheap. How I love to calm the chaos in colour-coded plastic containers. Oh so neatly stacked outgrown baby clothes, homemade baby food and anything else that needs to be packed away in identical receptacles. But on the other hand, anything that convenient and cheap usually comes at a price.
When I started buying goodies for the twins before they were born, I noticed that a big selling point in baby products was that it was ‘BPA free’. This raised a number of questions. The obvious first question to ask was what this evil substance was? BPA stands for bisphenol A and it’s used in the production of plastic, amongst other things. It releases what’s known as an ‘endocrine disruptor’ which means it messes with the body’s natural hormone workings, with foetuses, babies and children feeling the worst effects. Exposure can result in a myriad of terrible defects and diseases. So obviously BPA is nothing to LOL about!
The next question my pre-twin shopping raised was if this substance is so terrible, why isn’t everything automatically BPA free? Apparently the substance has been banned from baby products in a number of countries but is still used in the lining of cans and other plastic products we would use on a daily basis. There’s also apparently still some doubt as to its effects. Big corporations tend to have that power. It seems that many people have to be horrendously affected before something is deemed truly unsafe. Remember that doctors used to promote smoking! Pretty damn scary!!
And the last question is how do I try to be BPA free? The most extreme solution is to avoid plastic and cans entirely. Stainless steel, porcelain and glass are the safest to use. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible so it’s best to make good plastic choices. Avoid the 3, 6 and 7 resin codes found on most plastic products as they contain BPA. Resin codes 1, 2 and 5 are the best choices and most plastic food containers in South Africa seem to be a 5. I guess the best solution is to be informed. Read labels and find the codes on whatever plastic you’re buying. Also don’t heat plastic or use it for too long, if you can help it. There’s so much evil stuff out there so as a mother you need to be a kick-ass villain hunter!