Are Your Plastic Containers Killing You? Here’s What No One Is Telling You

Plastic water bottles and cans containing the chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, are being called “safe” by the Food and Drug Administration. But is this actually true?

Manufacturers scrambled to develop BPA-free products to assuage a terrified public after the compound was demonized for playing a role in Christina Applegate and Sheryl Crowe’s breast cancer diagnoses several years ago.

Now, with the FDA’s findings, is it safe to consume BPA-packaged products? The answer is: maybe.

1. Which products contain BPA?

Pastic bottles

Is your favorite water bottle safe? | Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

BPA is in products, such as bottles, cans, eyeglass lenses, CDs, and more, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The compound helps create polycarbonate (No. 7) plastic, and some paper receipts have the chemical.

In fact, general exposure to BPA is probably widespread among the public, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Next: BPA might not be as bad as originally thought.

2. BPA exposure might be safe

Bisphenol A-free baby accessories

Do you really need to worry? | Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

The FDA says BPA is “safe” after a two-year study. Scientists concluded the chemical has “minimal effects” on health, even at high levels, NPR reports.

“The FDA has routinely considered and evaluated the scientific evidence surrounding the use of BPA and continues to conclude that BPA is safe for the currently authorized uses in food containers and packaging,” Dr. Stephen Ostroff, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a news release.

Next: But previous studies said BPA is harmful. 

3. Previous studies connect BPA with health problems

Sick woman cough in ved under blanket

Could this be the reason you’re sick? |

A bevy of studies cited by the Environmental Defense Fund point to BPA as being a public health threat. Reports include negative impacts on metabolic health, cardiovascular effects, and developmental neurotoxicity.

Next: BPA could disrupt hormones. 

4. BPA mimics the hormone estrogen

new empty plastic food boxes

This is one scary fact. |

Because it produces a weak version of synthetic estrogen, BPA might disrupt hormones. This can impact how estrogen and other hormones interact, creating a hormonal imbalance, according to

Next: The breast cancer risk is still in question.

5. BPA could still influence your breast cancer risk

Cancer cell made in 3d software

Too much estrogen can be dangerous. | vitanovski/iStock/Getty Images

Women still might consider limiting exposure to BPA because of what it can do to their hormones. Estrogen can encourage the development of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, according to

Next: Some researchers are skeptical.

6. Some scientists believe the report was released prematurely

Camelback brand water bottles that are free of the controversial carbonate plastic bisphenol-a (BPA)

Could all that worry have been for nothing? | David McNew/Getty Images

Despite the FDA’s assertion that BPA is safe, other scientists think the organization jumped the gun. “It is premature to draw conclusions based on the release of one component of a two-part report,” said Laura Vandenberg, a spokesperson for the Endocrine Society. The group said the study did not address brain impacts or “provide assurance of BPA’s safety” either.

Next: What’s the best advice? 

7. Not sure what to do?

Camelback brand water bottles that are free of the controversial carbonate plastic bisphenol-a

You can easily avoid BPA if you still want to. | David McNew/Getty Images

You can easily avoid BPA, as many companies don’t include the chemical in their products, according to NPR. The Can Manufacturers Institute reportedly no longer lines metal cans with BPA. Plus, plastic packaging manufacturers provide a variety of BPA-free containers, as well.

Additionally, avoid paper receipts, buy food in glass jars, use stainless steel bottles, and wash hands frequently.

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