A side of plas­tic?

Santa Fe New Mexican - Healthy Living - - HEALTH INTEL - — PA­TRI­CIA WEST-BARKER

The on­go­ing de­bate among govern­ment reg­u­la­tory agen­cies, ad­vo­cacy groups, re­search sci­en­tists and the chem­i­cal in­dus­try about bisphe­nol A (BPA), a hor­mone-dis­rupt­ing plas­tic widely used in food pack­ag­ing, is not that bits of the plas­tic are rou­tinely trans­ferred from bot­tles, lined cans and boxes into the foods they are de­signed to con­tain. The chem­i­cal’s pres­ence in the blood­streams of al­most all Amer­i­cans is equally undis­puted. What re­mains to be de­ter­mined is how much BPA our bod­ies can tol­er­ate be­fore it be­comes a se­ri­ous health haz­ard.

The dan­ger to fe­tuses, in­fants and young chil­dren was suf­fi­ciently clear that the U.S. Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion banned the use of BPA in plas­tic baby bot­tles and drink­ing cups for chil­dren in 2012. While we wait for defini­tive ev­i­dence of the health ef­fects of BPA on adults, there are some sim­ple steps you can take to re­duce the amount of plas­tic in your food (and your body): • Eat less pro­cessed and canned food; go for fresh and frozen foods when pos­si­ble. Fatty, salty and acidic foods (like toma­toes and cit­rus) leech the most plas­tic. • Choose soups, sauces and other pre­pared foods packed in glass or waxed card­board car­tons. • Look for canned food la­beled BPA-free. For a list of com­pa­nies and brands that have re­moved BPA from their cans (and those that have not), go to www.ewg.org/ re­search/bpa-canned-food. • Avoid food packed in plas­tic that’s de­signed to be mi­crowaved or boiled. (High heat in­creases the amount of plas­tic trans­ferred to the food.) • Down fewer canned drinks (such as co­las and al­co­holic bev­er­ages). • Breast­feed or use pow­dered for­mula for ba­bies. Use glass baby bot­tles. • Avoid buy­ing any­thing in plas­tic con­tain­ers made from poly­car­bon­ate (marked with the num­ber 7 or the let­ters PC). • Store food in glass or Pyrex con­tain­ers. • Don’t put plas­tic con­tain­ers in the mi­crowave. Hand-wash them in medium-hot wa­ter and throw them out when they get scratched or worn. • Don’t buy wa­ter in plas­tic bot­tles; use glass or un­lined stain­less steel bot­tles you can fill your­self. • Carry your own glass or un­lined stain­less steel coffee cup to the coffee shop.

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