Eco-Tip: How to Reduce BPA in our Bodies

It’s likely that you’ve heard of BPA, a toxic chemical that damages genes and disrupts our hormones. If you’ve tuned in to the alphabet soup of toxic chemicals, you may also have heard of DEHP, another toxic chemical that causes cancer and interferes with our ability to have healthy children. There’s good news about these chemicals this week: the Silent Spring Institute and the Breast Cancer Fund teamed up with some other researchers to figure out what simple steps we can take so that we’re not exposed to so much BPA or DEHP.

This study is important because most of us are exposed to these two chemicals daily (shown in this BPA study and this DEHP study) . BPA is often used in the linings of canned food, and DEHP is often used to make plastics flexible.

What the Silent Spring Institute and the Breast Cancer Fund did is strikingly simple. They asked five families (2 adults and 2 children in each family) to be volunteer participants. They measured BPA and DEHP breakdown products in the urine of these 20 people. Then they gave the families special catered meals for three days. The special meals provided fresh, organic foods, and foods that were not canned or packaged in plastics. Then the researchers did another round of BPA and DEHP measurements. They found that BPA levels went down by over 60 percent, and levels of DEHP breakdown products went down by almost as much. These are food changes that all of us can make!

Of course there are lots of reasons to eat fresh and organic foods, and lots of reasons to avoid plastic packaging. This study gives us one more incentive.  If you’ve fallen out of the habit of shopping at your local farmers market, maybe this will help you make the trip. Or maybe you can subscribe to a community supported agriculture farm.  If you’ve always wanted to have a garden, maybe this can be the last bit of inspiration that you need.

Good food and less toxic chemicals! It’s a healthy combination.