Friday, April 18, 2008

What Exactly is Bisphenol-A?

Bisphenol-A (BPA), is a chemical that mimics the action of the human hormone estrogen.

BPA has been found to stimulate prostate cancer cells and causes breast tissue changes in mice that resemble early stages of breast cancer in both mice and humans. One study found an association between ovarian dysfunction and higher levels of BPA in urine.

BPA is primarily used to make polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers, plastic food wrap, and epoxy resins that are used to line metal cans for food, such as cans of soup. Polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers that contain BPA will be labeled recycling #7.

What do those recycling symbols mean anyway?

Poly(ethylene terephthalate): Soda bottles, water bottles, vinegar bottles, medicine containers, backing for photography film.

High-density Polyethylene: Containers for: laundry/dish detergent, fabric softeners, bleach, milk, shampoo, conditioner, motor oil. Newer bullet proof vests, various toys.

Poly(vinyl chloride): Pipes, shower curtains, meat wraps, cooking oil bottles, baby bottle nipples, shrink wrap, clear medical tubing, vinyl dashboards and seat covers, coffee containers.

Low-density Polyethylene: Wrapping films, grocery bags, sandwich bags.

Polypropylene: Tupperware®, syrup bottles, yogurt tubs, diapers, outdoor carpet.

Polystyrene: Coffee cups, disposable cutlery and cups (clear and colored), bakery shells, meat trays, "cheap" hubcaps, packing peanuts, styrofoam insulation.

The hotdog of plastics! Products labeled as "other" are made of any combination of 1-6 or another, less commonly used plastic.

Safe plastics recycling guide:

Some important recent studies of Bisphenol-A

Smart Plastics Guide Healthier Food Uses of Plastics

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