BPA What Is It and Do You Need To Avoid It?

Did you know BPA lines the inside of canned foods?

Photo of a close up of the side of a can of tomaotes. The label is red and at the top of the lable facing the camera on green background it says BPA Free Lining. You can see half of the word Organic to the left and the side of a picture of a tomato and on the right is white wording for storage information, ingredients and nutrition

As I was unpacking my Abel & Cole order (organic food is important to me) I pulled out my store cupboard staple tinned tomatoes only to find the label stating BPA free.  It’s funny because I know tinned food isn’t idea as a lot of nutrients are damaged in the processing and the linings have chemicals that leach into the contents but I’m ashamed to admit that I never got round to checking exactly what those chemicals were!

I have already moved away from the use of plastics that contain Bisphenol A or BPA as it is much easier to call it.  I use glass where I can sometimes in life though plastics are the most practical solution it is just about doing what you can, when you can. 

So what is BPA and why is it one of those chemicals that have been identified as a nasty?

BPA is a chemical that is added to plastics to make them stronger and more resilient.  When these products are made not all of the BPA is sealed within the product which opens up the possibility of it breaking up and you consuming it.

Products That Contain BPA

  • Plastic containers
  • Canned foods
  • Toiletries
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Thermal printer receipts
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Household electronics
  • Eyeglass lenses
  • Sports equipment
  • Dental filling sealants

Products That Contain BPA

The main thing is making sure that you are avoiding BPA in products that are either in contact with foods or drinks you will ingest or maintain contact with your skin directly.  The addition here is dental sealants as they gradually wear every time you chew so although in minute quantities it is about your overall exposure across all of the products you use on a regular basis.

What Does BPA Do?

It is said to mimic oestrogen a hormone present in women and to a lesser degree in men too.  It is also thought that it could also mimic other hormones too for example those for your thyroid.  Because of this, it could affect cell growth and repair, energy levels, fertility (men and women) and fetal development.

There are a number of areas of your body that BPA is thought to affect, which include:

  • Ovaries – Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Asthma
  • Liver function
  • Immune function
  • Thyroid function
  • Brain function
  • Premature delivery
A supermarket aisle with bleach and cleaning products on the left and washing up liquid on the right. Straight ahead at the end of the aisle is kitchen roll and toilet paper. Everything is a product that would have BPA in it. Showing us how difficult it is to completely avoid.

They are thought to be a causative agent of cancers and obesity too.

By now you could well be thinking OK this sounds like something I want to avoid as much as possible to stay healthy.  Please be aware that if you are still going to use plastic-based products do your research.  New evidence is released all of the time and just because something is BPA-free doesn’t mean that it is holier than thou.  As an example, some BPA products can then contain bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF) instead and are they safe?

How To Minimise Your Exposure To BPA

recycling icon 6. on a white background there is a black triangle made up of three arrows going round each corner. in the middle of the triangle is the number 6 and underneath in black capitals the letters PS
  • Avoid plastic food packaging – this includes takeaways, ready meals, and convenience foods the plastics likely to contain BPA (unless labelled otherwise) are the hard shatterproof plastic containers.  Plastics in general are best avoided however the ones with the recycling number 1,3,6,7 or the letters ‘PC’ are known to be more toxic.
  • Tinned foods – as I experienced look out for the ones with a BPA-free lining.
  • Drink from glass bottles (when it is safe to do so): Certainly, avoid canned drinks they’re not healthy anyway.  I know it isn’t always safe and practical to drink from a glass just do so when you can.
  • Stay away from BPA products: As much as possible, limit your contact with receipts, as these contain high levels of BPA.
  • Be selective with toys: Make sure that plastic toys you buy for your children are made from BPA-free material — especially for toys your little ones are likely to chew or suck on.
  • Don’t microwave plastic: Personally, I don’t own a microwave as I don’t believe they are healthy anyway.  If you do own one and use it please heat things through in glass.  Decant anything that is in plastic.
  • Buy powdered infant formula: Some experts recommend powders over liquids from BPA containers, as the liquid is likely to absorb more BPA from the container.


There are times when exposure is unavoidable and when you are fit and healthy your body can cope.  Pollutants, chemicals and the like are a normal part of practical everyday life the main thing is to keep things to a minimum where you can, control what you can control and stay positive that by living the healthiest life you can, your body will be in the best place to deal with everything that comes its way.

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