The one-letter switch that could leave you sick:
Learn the ABCs of BPA and BPS
You’re no dummy——but the chemicals industry is playing you for a fool.
You know all about BPA, the hormone-like chemical used in plastics that’s causing sickness and disease in kids and adults alike, and I’m sure you’re doing your best to avoid it.
But you CAN’T avoid it because of what you DON’T know: BPA-free products often contain a chemical called BPS, and the two have a lot more in common than their first two letters.
They’re both chemical hormones that mimic estrogen in the human body, disrupting the endocrine system and setting you up for illness and disease. And while BPS is slightly weaker than its chemical cousin, a new study finds it’s 1,900 percent more effective at penetrating the skin than BPA.
In other words, a “BPA-free” product could give you a BIGGER blast of chemical hormones than if you had just stuck to the old “BPA-full” stuff.
No matter how hard you try, you just can’t win.
Of course, the plastics industry knows all this. They know it, but they’re banking on the fact that you don’t. And you can bet they’re laughing their pants off every time they unleash a new “BPA-free” product that’s loaded with BPS.
That could be just about anything, by the way, but the new study found that BPS is already turning up in massive amounts in paper products such as thermal paper.
That’s the chemically treated paper used in the receipts you get from supermarkets, gas stations, ATMs and...well...just about every place that sells stuff.
If you buy stuff, you have handled this paper——and because it’s so unstable, the chemicals on the surface can slip right onto your fingertips and then through the membrane of the skin and into your body. This is even worse if you’re a thumb sucker——and what about your baby?
Not long ago, BPA was one of the main ingredients in thermal paper. Now, stores are switching to “BPA-free” thermal receipts——but the new study found BPS on every single thermal receipt they collected and tested.
You’re going to need rubber gloves just to go shopping!
It’s not just receipts. The researchers also tested 15 other types of paper collected from the United States and Asia and found BPS turning up in all the places where BPA had once been found, and in similar amounts, too.
They found BPS in 87 percent of paper money samples and 52 percent of all recycled paper products, according to the study in Environmental Science & Technology.
Who knows, it’s probably in your toilet paper too. Time to consider a bidet.
Of course, you can expect the clowns in Washington to handle BPS the way they’ve “handled” BPA: Not at all.
The government agencies that are supposed to protect you from toxic chemicals are really out to protect the companies that make the stuff, so they keep insisting endocrine disrupters like BPA and BPS are safe despite hundreds of studies to the contrary.
Even when they take “action,” it’s really just inaction in disguise——like the supposed ban on BPA in baby bottles recently announced by the FDA.
Made for some good headlines, I’ll give them that. But in reality, no one was making baby bottles with BPA anyway. As soon as parents got wise to the fact that BPA causes developmental issues in babies——including boobs in boys and early puberty in girls——they stopped buying those bottles.
And when parents stopped buying them, companies stopped making them. The free market stepped in where the government failed.
So now, they’ve banned something that doesn’t exist. They may as well have banned unicorn hunting. But even then, the BPA ban wasn’t the FDA’s idea. They did it because the industry told them to.
Shows you who REALLY wears the pants in D.C.
By the way, many of the “BPA-free” baby bottles parents feel so good about buying now are made with...you guessed it...BPS. So despite the “ban” on BPA in baby bottles, the littlest members of your family could still be getting dosed with chemical hormones every time they drink up.
At least the human breast is still chemical-free (unless mom is eating food laced with BPA and BPS).
Of course, babies and children are the most vulnerable to the damage of these hormone-like chemicals since they can have such a huge impact on development. But you’re not in the clear on this——not by a long shot.
From diabetes to heart disease BPA does a body bad.
One recent study found that adults with the highest urine levels of BPA were 68 percent more likely to be diabetic than those with the lowest. Another found that people with the highest levels of BPA in the urine were more likely to develop heart disease.
And yet another recent study found a link between BPA and meningioma——a type of brain tumor.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. These studies were on BPA, not BPS, but do you even want to take a chance on this one? Me neither——not when the other established risks of these chemical hormones include obesity, sexual dysfunction and more.
Naturally, it’s close to impossible to avoid BPA and BPS since they don’t have to list this stuff anywhere on the labels. But you can minimize your exposure by taking these simple actions:
Mind your 3s and 7s: Plastics with a recycling code of “3” or “7” can contain BPA——and if they say “BPA-free,” they can still pack BPS. You’ll often find these codes hidden on the bottom or along the side of plastic containers and bottles.
PES is the pits: BPS is commonly used in polyethersulfone (PES) plastics. Avoid them all, even——or especially——if they say “BPA-free” on the label. By the way, many baby bottles use PES. Water bottles, too.
Ditch the receipt: Do you want chemicals on your fingers? Me neither. Unless you’re buying something you may need to return, tell the cashier to keep the receipt. And if you do need the receipt, tell the cashier to toss it in the bag. Whatever you do, don’t touch the thing yourself.
Shop the perimeter: If you don’t eat or drink anything that comes from a can, bottle or package, you’ll dramatically slash your exposure to any number of chemicals, including BPA and BPS, practically overnight. In other words, stick to the fresh produce and meats you should be eating anyway.
Glass & metal: Even if you eat fresh foods, you’ll still need to store them once you get home, not to mention your leftovers. Use glass and metal containers, and if you have no choice but to buy something in a plastic package, switch it to one of these containers once you get home.
In this day and age, you’ll never bring your exposure down to zero. But get it down to as close to zero as you possibly can.