Tuesday, February 2, 2010

BPA Ordinance - For Babies Only

An ordinance went into effect on January 31 in Chicago restricting businesses from selling "any container designed to be filled with food or liquid to be used by a child under the age 3 that contains BPA." Mom is excited that local government is starting to take action against BPA and realizes that as with all things, baby steps must be taken.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used primarily in the production of plastics. It's all around us and we don't even realize it. But what exactly is BPA and why is it everywhere?

BPA, like so many chemicals is nothing more than carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Mom is always telling me how most of the world is made from these three elements and how it's just the structure or how they are put together that makes chemicals different. Of course none of this makes sense to me but maybe it will to you.

BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic resins, epoxy resins, and other products. Polycarbonate plastic is a light plastic but also a tough plastic that has a high heat resistance and is cheap to produce. Because of these qualities, BPA can be used in a variety of products. Just look around you and you will see that you are most likely surrounded by BPA. Mom's laptop is practically make from plastic as are the remote controls sitting at my feet. Speaking of feet, there's a lot of plastic in shoes and even clothes, not to mention the hangers those clothes are hung on. And what about the tv we are watching? It's got plastic on and in it. The kitchen is filled with kitchen and there's a lot of plastic in the car. It would be virtually impossible to go through an entire hour without using plastic.

There was a lot of press last year about BPA in plastic water bottles. This prompted many people to switch to stainless steel containers like Klean Kanteen. For those who preferred plastic over stainless steel, BPA-free water bottles flooded the market. Mom prefers stainless steel bottles and is still a little mad over the Sigg fiasco that occurred last year. Reusable bottles are always better than disposable, so just choose your bottle wisely.

So we know that BPA is everywhere but is it bad for us? Mom calls this the 10 million dollar question. I'm not sure what that means but I do know that everyone has an opinion on the subject. Whom to trust? The government? The experts? Good question.

BPA is a hormone disruptor and most authorities agree that it could potentially cause harm to humans. Hmmm. What about pugs? I guess the jury is still out on that. BPA mimics estrogens in the body and binds to the same receptors as natural female hormones. Huh? Did I lose you? I lost myself! The bottom line is that hormones regulate the body and disrupting them is nothing short of bad news. Even though BPA has been around and used for over 40 years, it recently started getting lots of press because more and more things are made from plastic. More plastic means your exposure to BPA increases.

The FDA stands firm in its stance that BPA is safe in containers that hold food, but Mom is not convinced of this at all. You should never heat anything in plastic because BPA leaches from the plastic containers that hold food and liquids. I'm primarily talking about microwaving food items in plastic containers. BPA leaching occurs when plastic is exposed to heat and we all know how hot items that are microwaved get even after only a few seconds. You should also never pour hot liquids into plastic because the same thing happens. This is a basic chemical reaction that happens as the heat breaks down the plastic, releasing the chemicals into the foods and liquids. When you eat foods or drink liquids that have been heated in plastic containers you ingest BPA. Yuk!

But even if you never heat anything in plastic, you may be exposed to BPA via canned goods. You read that right - canned goods. Have you ever looked inside a can of green beans after pouring the green beans out? The can is lined. Lined with plastic. Plastic containing BPA. But why is there plastic inside cans? It's all about shelf life here folks. Adding plastic to cans extends the shelf life of canned goods in addition to locking out external contaminants. So lock in internal contaminants and lock out external contaminants? Right! There are a few companies that do not line their cans with plastic containing BPA, one of which is Eden Foods. More companies are looking into moving away from BPA so keep your eyes open for them.

Back to the ordinance. Bottles, cups, or sippy cups are the items listed in the Chicago ordinance. In order to sell these plastic items, shop owners must adhere labels to them stating they are BPA free. Business that violate the ordinance face fines of up to $500. Who is going to police this? The BPA police? Mom's hoping citizens will make themselves aware of the ordinance and report businesses that do not adhere to it.

Mom feels like the ordinance is a good start but that all containers that hold food or liquids shouldn't contain BPA. Children are definitely exposed to BPA at high levels and since they do not a voice in the products they use, the ordinance is a great way to limit their exposure. Mom's hoping that the city council will work on an ordinance to restrict businesses from selling all food or liquid containers that contain BPA. None of us should put our health at risk because of something that can and should be avoided. Educate yourself about BPA and make decisions based on the information you find. You have a say in what goes in to and on your body. Please choose wisely.


THE PUGLET said...

Wow. Who knew 3 little letters (BPA) could be so.... everywhere.


I guess baby steps are better than no steps at all. They banned plastic shopping bags here in San Francisco ~ maybe lots of steps will add up to something good?

PugMoon - with, Bandit, Paisley, & Smokey pugs and their Mom Paula - PAPugMom said...

Boy you really make me think Stubby, I never thought about the inside of cans. Thanks for caring for us and keeping us informed.

Anonymous said...

They did a huge baby bottle recall here about two years ago now i think. I don't know if it's banned yet but I realized the other day my can of tomatoes was lined. So i don't think we will be buying that stuff again.

Pearl said...

You are so right about how we have to watch what we put in our bodies, Stubby!
We really have to be our own advocates, and info like this from you is so helpful!!!!


Melissa and Emmitt said...

I always learn so much from you stubby!

knowledge is power!

m & e

dw said...

Wows, they's lot of plastic in things. Mom said she thought of you today when she was reading about water usage in today's Tribune. She says you knows everything about whats good to do for the planet. I's kinda likes this planet, mostly because it's the only ones I knows about! See you in a littles over a week, Stubby!

"I had you big time"

Pugsley and Lola said...

We sent out our Valentines today!!! Thanks for host the Valentine exchange. It has been LOTS of fun and we can't wait to see the Valentines we get:)

Pugs & Likkes
Pugsley & Lola

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Hi Stubby
your always thinking ahead- that is what we love about you.
And not only that, but you share what you know with us,

Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! Yeah, this plastic stuff is taking over the world. It's kind of scary how bad it is for us and the environment.

San Francisco is so cutting edge. People out ther really care about the environment and act on getting people together to make changes. Hopefully, the plastic shopping bag ban will get some traction and soon be in all major cities.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Paula! I'm so glad this post got you thinking. Mom always tells me that people really don't know about a lot of the bad stuff that's happening and that it's my job to tell them. I love my job!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Lex! I think I remember reading about that baby bottle recall. There's been a lot of talk here about the bottles too and lots of people are switching to BPA free ones.

That's so cool that my post prompted you to look inside the can of tomatoes. Please spread the word about BPA in cans.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Pearly! Mom is so careful about what she lets me put in my body. I always tell her not to worry but you know how moms are.

I'll keep advocating it you keep reading Pearly. We want all our friends to be around for a long time.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! Knowledge is power! It's so important to remember that you don't know what you don't know. No one can know it all but if each of us shares what we do know, the world would be a better place.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Rainy! I read that same article in the paper yesterday and was going to do a blog post about it. That's so sweet of your mom to think about me when she reads environmental news.

I'm going to teach you everything I know about the planet so that you can help save it. It is the only one we've got so we need to spread the word too.

I can't wait to meet you. I'm even going to take a bath so that I'm nice and clean instead of stinky when we meet. Mom says being stinky is not a good way to make a good impression.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Pugsley & Lola! I sent mine out yesterday and I've already received one. It's going to be so neat to see what everyone comes up with. Soon my mantel will be lined with cards from my friends. I may just leave them up all year!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! That's so sweet of you to say. I love sharing what I know with my friends because I want you to stay safe. Please spread the word about plastic and make sure that all your forest friends know to stay away from it.

Stubby xoxo