If you grab a can of soda or soup, are you holding cancer in a can? Maybe! Why? Because of a chemical called BPA. It’s short for Bisphenol A – which is used in hard plastic containers, and the epoxy lining in cans to keep them from rusting and making the food taste metallic. Studies show that tiny amounts of BPA seep into the food and beverages and inside your body it mimics human estrogen, and is linked to breast cancer and early puberty. According to Self magazine, a lot of retailers and manufacturers are working to ban the chemical from all the products they carry, including Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us. Until they succeed, here’s how to protect yourself and your loved ones:
- Buy in bottles, not cans. That includes sodas, soups and sauces. Of course, the white epoxy inside the metal jar lid probably contains BPA – but that’s a lot less surface area touching the food than the whole inside of a can.
- Drink ONLY from glass or stainless steel. If you must use plastic, avoid anything with the number 7 inside the recycling triangle on the bottom. The system’s not foolproof – but containers with recycling numbers 1 through 6 are less likely to contain BPA.
- Don't eat canned food if you’re pregnant. The Center for Science in the Public Interest doesn’t tell people to avoid canned foods altogether. However, they do say it makes sense for all parents - especially pregnant and nursing women - to minimize the exposure of their kids' developing bodies and brains to BPA.
- Don't use canned baby formula: All U.S. manufacturers use BPA-based lining on the metal parts of formula containers. If you must use formula, the experts suggest powered or liquid formula in plastic bottles.
- Start cooking instead of just heating. The fact is, 17% of the American diet comes out of cans, but if you cook fresh food, and make things from scratch, you can avoid the BPA problem altogether.