Scientifically known as Bisphenol A, BPA is a chemical compound that is used extensively in the production of all plastic products like bottles, containers, and cans, and other items like paper receipts. Initially invented in 1890, BPA was used as artificial estrogen and is known to imitate the effect of hormones on the body. Later, it was used in the manufacturing of plastics and resins as it would help in producing products that wouldn’t break on heating or cooling. Given the cheap production cost and effectiveness, it immediately gained popularity and was used commercially on a wide scale.
Later, came the studies that linked BPA to serious health concerns and some of these indicated that most of the population, especially American, was exposed to harmful levels of BPA. The current scenario is that BPA is everywhere. Being a soluble compound, it easily gets mixed with our food when we eat from plastic. The toxic chemical is linked to various grave health concerns, five of which are briefly discussed below:
Disrupts Brain Function
Medical research is suggestive of the link between BPA and hampered brain function. A study by Duke University Medical Center asserts that BPA interferes with the brain’s regulation of genes and also prevents the removal of chloride from the central nervous system. Excess chloride in the brain leads to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other disorders.
BPA is also linked to weight gain. Due to its hormone-like nature and effect, it disrupts the insulin production and resistance of the body. It can also cause a surge in production of fat cells. It is recommended to ditch all the plastic in your life and switch to plastic-free lifestyle.
Infertility and Related Disorders
The process of fetal development is very delicate and this is why women in pregnancy are asked to avoid alcohol or smoking. A study has, further, suggested that women should be extremely careful while consuming from plastic or coming in contact on plastics in any manner. BPA is known to compromise the egg quality in women and hamper the male reproductive function. Exposure to BPA can lead to infertility and related serious disorders.
Cardiac Issues and Diabetes
For increasing cases of cardiac problems and disease, BPA is to be blamed partially. Since plastic is used extensively in packaging, it gets mixed with our eatables. Plastic cutlery and straws are also culprits. It is linked to an increased risk of suffering from hypertension, heart diseases, and diabetes.
Medical research has found that BPA is capable of mimicking estrogen and other hormones, and therefore, can promote unexpected cell development that can lead to breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. One study has also found that BPA lowers the effectiveness of chemotherapy and therefore, hinders the cancer treatment.
Where is BPA found?
BPA is found mainly in everything made from plastic. This includes all the following products:
- Plastic straws and cutlery
- Plastic water bottles
- Plastic containers
- Canned foods
- CDs and DVDs
- All plastic food packaging
- Plastic Carry Bags
This list is of the common items we use every day. The presence of BPA, however, is not limited to this list. ‘BPA-free’ plastics are even more hazardous as there BPA is replaced with other synthesized chemicals that mimic estrogen more dangerously.
The bottom line here is that anything that is plastic has good chances of containing BPA. Ditch plastic to move to a better and healthy lifestyle. Do your research and slowly find the alternatives to everything plastic in life.