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5 Alarming Sources of BPA Exposure

Why You Should Care

Do you know where the primary BPA exposure sources are lurking? Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expressed concern about this chemical’s possible harmful effects. Knowing these 5 most common sources of Bisphenol A exposure will give you the tools necessary to protect your family.

Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure is widespread. This harmful chemical leaches out of certain plastics, cans, and food packaging materials and has now been found in our dust, our water, our food, and in our bodies. BPA is present in over 93% of the US population at levels that are well within the range found to cause health problems according to research in animals.[1] And the latest human studies show BPA levels are directly correlated with a host of diseases, from behavior problems in children to obesity.[2-3] The good news is that if you know and avoid these top 5 common sources of BPA, you can greatly reduce your own levels as well as your family members’. Doing so may reduce your risk of obesity, behavior problems in your children and much more.

The adverse health effects of BPA
BPA is considered an “obesogen” because it can lead to obesity, and an “endocrine disruptor” because it disrupts the body’s hormonal (endocrine) balance. [2] BPA is best known for its ability to mimic the hormone estrogen in both men and women. BPA can also interfere with other hormones, like testosterone, thyroid hormones, and hormones associated with maintaining normal body weight, like leptin. In numerous studies, BPA has been associated with obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in adults and with obesity and behavioral problems in children.[4] BPA and other endocrine disruptors are also linked to health effects like cancer and reproductive system harm.

BPA exposure is particularly of concern for pregnant women and their unborn fetuses, for babies, and for children. BPA in the blood of pregnant women passes through the placenta and enters the baby’s body, and nursing mothers pass BPA on to their babies as they nurse. Because of their small body size, young children have been found to have higher BPA levels and to be particularly susceptible to its effects.

Common sources of BPA
Researchers conclude that by far, the majority of our exposure to BPA comes from food and beverages that have been stored in BPA laden containers. In other words, even though we absorb some BPA through our skin and ingest some BPA from dust, experts agree that what we eat and drink has the biggest impact on our BPA levels.

Let’s take a closer look at the 5 most common sources of BPA exposure:

Because prunes are loaded with fiber and polyphenolic compounds that reduce bone turnover, they should ideally be consumed daily.[3,4] However, in spite of the fact that they are a wonder food for preventing or treating osteoporosis, they do have a sticky texture and a strong taste so many people simply do not like eating them. Here are a few suggestions to make prunes easier to swallow:

Protect your family by avoiding these 5 common sources of BPA exposure
So the key to reducing your risk associated with BPA exposure is to be aware of these 5 common sources and use BPA-free alternatives. That means avoiding packaged products and canned foods, switching to a BPA free water bottle, storing your food in glass containers, giving up soda, and using glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids. It will be worth it for your family’s sake.


[1] Reprod Toxicol. 2007 Aug–Sep;24(2):131–138.
[2] PLoS One. 2013 Jun 12;8(6):e65399.
[3] Environ Res. 2013 Jul 16. pii: S0013-9351(13)00112-6.
[4] Pediatrics. 2013 Aug 19.
[5] J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jul 13;59(13):7178-85.
[6] J Agric Food Chem. 2013 May 15;61(19):4655-62.
[7] Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Sept;117(9):1368–1372.
[8] Chemosphere. 2011 Oct;85(6):943-7.
[10] J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Feb 25;57(4):1307-11.
[12] Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2011 Jun;28(6):791-8.
[13] Environ Int. 2013 Sep;59:152-60.
[14] Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jan;119(1):131–137.

Article originally written by Kathleen Jade, ND 9/16/2013 ​