Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in making polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, both of which are used in a variety of products, including water bottles, electronics, cars, planes, cell phones, DVDs, food containers and food storage containers. BPA has been in use for over 50 years and can be found in everything from protective coatings in food cans to that handy coffee mug that fits so nicely in your RV’s cup holder. It is even in some thermal receipt paper used at grocery stores, gas stations, fast food restaurants and roadside attractions. This versatile chemical component is seen as a must-have in the manufacturing industry, but is the basis of an ongoing debate between companies that claim it is safe and necessary and citizens concerned about the growing amount of evidence that points towards potential health issues.
BPA has been linked to a variety of diseases and conditions, including cancer and heart disease. Studies have also shown that BPA is a hormone disruptor that could lead to birth defects and DNA alterations when women are exposed to it during pregnancy. This hormone-disrupting quality is also being looked at as a potential cause of changes in behavior in babies and toddlers and a potential culprit in puberty coming on earlier in girls. According to Facts About BPA (www.factsaboutbpa.com), a pro-BPA website listed as belonging to the American Chemistry Council, Inc., BPA is metabolized quickly in humans and data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) seems to show that the amount of BPA a person is exposed to during a regular day is well below the safe intake level determined by the European Food Safety Authority. However, not everyone is convinced. Mounting evidence shows that BPA may accumulate in the body and could particularly affect women in all stages of life.
While men should also take heed of studies showing that BPA may cause sexual dysfunction in men and linking BPA to heart disease, diabetes and other conditions that are experienced by both genders, girls and women seem to be particularly hard hit by these possible effects. From early puberty to an increased risk of breast cancer, studies are beginning to show that BPA may have a detrimental effect on women throughout their lifespan. This is, of course, coupled with the concern that women exposed to BPA during pregnancy may give birth to babies whose health has also been affected.
While the jury is still technically out, many health-conscious consumers are choosing BPA-free products whenever possible and simply don’t think it is worth taking the risk.
Where might you find BPA in your RV? Canned foods
Travel mugs Plastic food storage containers
Canning jar lids
Infant formula containers
CDs and DVDs
You can reduce your family’s exposure to BPA by switching to glass or BPA-free plastic food storage containers, purchasing BPA-free baby bottles and travel mugs, and limiting your consumption of canned foods and drinks.