When you first learn that you are pregnant, you may find the whole world around you changing rapidly. As an expecting mother, you leave no stone unturned to ensure that you do what is best for you and the little one growing inside you. You cut out on the junk food, begin to eat healthy and maintain a diet plan. You pay special attention to move on to a better lifestyle that involves exercising regularly.
Yet, there remain some apparently insignificant habits that may turn out to play a huge role in your pregnancy. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a very common chemical that you are exposed to in everyday life. Have you ever stopped to think about how the chemical may affect your baby’s health?
Things you need to know about BPA
Recent research suggests that high exposure to BPA during pregnancy may result in increased vulnerability to health issues for your baby later in life. Found almost everywhere – in canned foods, plastics and cash register receipts – this chemical has a notorious capability of mimicking or blocking your hormones or interfering with their secretion and function, thereby resulting in stress to the body. In turn, this stress ends up making your baby more susceptible to developing diseases once he or she grows up.
In brief, BPA is a bad chemical that you may want to avoid.
It must be reminded here, that these studies have not established causality, but have merely proved association. A suggestion that BPA exposure may alter the protective cells in the body, thus predisposing people to developing heart disease and diabetes at some point in their lives has been made based on the results, but even then, the harmfulness of BPA with regards to human health continues to be a debatable topic.
Researches of larger proportions are needed to be done in order to understand the how’s and why’s of the matter, and conclusively state that BPA is bad for health. Meanwhile, it is safer to restrict your exposure to BPA while you are pregnant in order to ensure wellbeing of your child.
Where can you be exposed to BPA?
The most frustrating thing about BPA is that it is ubiquitous. It is present in the daily objects you use. It hides in the food you intake and the materials you touch with your hands. While avoiding BPA entirely may seem to be impossible, lessening its exposure by knowing which items contain BPA might be useful in the long run.
Food and beverage cans are common culprits. They are lined by a resin that contains BPA. Quite understandably, this BPA contaminates the food and beverages these cans contain. Acidic items like canned tomato products and soda leach more BPA than foods which are low on the acid meter. The only thing you can do here apart from ceasing to have canned food is to go for those which possess a ‘BPA-free’ label on the sides of the container.
Polycarbonate plastics contain BPA. Hard plastic containers that store food have a tendency to release BPA into the food; so you end up consuming a lot of BPA without even knowing it. Even plastic water bottles and children’s sippy cups contain enough BPA to ruin your health.
What is the way out then? Glass water bottles, or those made of metal are the best for drinking water. You may consider using glass and ceramic containers to store your food in the kitchen. Substituting your plastic cutting board with a wooden one is a good idea too. If you wish to go for a metal water bottle, always prefer those without lining or simply use stainless steel ones.
Cash memos and store receipts are the most unavoidable means of getting exposed to BPA. Thermal papers like ATM, cash register, credit and debit cards too contain BPA. Once you touch them, the chemical gets absorbed into your body through the skin. Refusing receipts is not a wise thing to do; so the only way to avoid as much BPA exposure as possible is by decreasing the time of handling such receipts.
Always wash your hands as early as possible after handling a cash receipt. BPA diffuses rapidly through the skin; so washing after a considerable length of time will not be as effective.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a staggeringly high percentage of Americans have BPA in their bloodstream. Irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not, it is highly advisable to reduce your exposure in order to lead a healthier life.