BPA – To Ban or Not to Ban? – Part 2

In my last post, I gave a quick summary of the BPA issue, including the FDA’s decision to not ban it, and some of the risks associated with it.

So, in case you’re worried about the effects of BPA on your family, here are 5 helpful tips to reduce your exposure:

  • Be a mindful shopper.  Look at the containers before you buy, especially for acidic foods.  Avoid cans; go for Tetra Paks instead.  For plastics, the recycling number 7 usually means it contains BPA.
  • Be wary of what you put in the microwave/dishwasher.  Although the packaging might say the container is microwave/dishwasher safe, plastics easily leach BPA when heated.
  • Switch to glass or BPA-free plastics.  It’s a win-win for the environment and for your health.  And while you’re at it…
  • Bring your own refillable BPA-free water bottle.  Or at least make sure not to leave your disposable plastic ones in a hot or freezing car.
  • Educate yourself.  The more you know about BPA, the better – that way you can easily make your own decisions, regardless of what the FDA or hardcore environmentalists push at you.

As for me, I try to avoid BPA.  I don’t eat much canned food (it’s probably healthier that way anyway), I have several refillable BPA-free beverage containers that I use throughout the day, and I try to stay educated in the world of nutritional news, including the BPA issue.

How about you?  Are you doing anything to avoid BPA?

Do you think it should be banned?  Why or why not?

BPA – To Ban or Not to Ban? – Part 1

Yesterday, the FDA denied a petition for the ban of the chemical BPA in food packaging (cans, bottles, et cetera).  You can read the full article from ABC here.

BPA, otherwise known as Bisophenol A, is a chemical commonly found in aluminum cans, plastic water bottles, and other food containers; it is already banned in Canada.  Why?

According to the LA Times, studies have shown BPA to be linked with “developmental and reproductive abnormalities, precancerous changes in the prostate and breast, and other health problems… including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver problems. “

Many people are also concerned because of its relation to hormonal disruptions.  By mimicking estrogen, BPA may cause growth problems, especially in young children.

But if it’s only in the container, it’s not really in your food, right?  Well, BPA can easily leach out of the container and into your food, especially when the container is exposed to extreme temperatures (e.g. microwave or freezer) or when the food is acidic (e.g. tomatoes or soda).

Concerned?  Stay tuned!  In my next post, I’ll give you 5 tips for limiting BPA exposure.

(Click here to read part 2.)

Frappucci-NO WAY! Starbucks Serves Squashed Bugs

Did you hear the one about the bugs in the frappuccino?

Unfortunately, this isn’t the beginning of a joke.  I’m actually referring to the latest news about the food additives in Starbucks beverages.

According to this article, the international coffee giant has been dying their Strawberries & Crème Frappuccinos with cochineal extract, a “natural” coloring additive made of crushed cochineal bugs.  And it doesn’t look like they’re planning on stopping.

Well, I guess I can see how the company is trying to keep a natural/green image, and I give them props for not using some of the toxic artificial colorings out there.  At the same time, though, there are plenty of other natural, non-insect/animal sources of vibrant color – in fact, some are so easy that you could make them at home!

And bugs?   Really?  Is anyone else grossed out by this?  Of course!  Especially the vegan community, who have already started a petition against the company’s use of the ingredient, which you can sign here if you’d like.

All in all, whenever this kind of story makes the news, it makes you wonder what else the FDA allows in your food.  Then again, maybe you really don’t want to know.  But how can we eat healthier if we don’t know what exactly we’re eating now?  This is why we need to be conscious consumers!

Personally, I can’t remember the last time I frequented Starbucks, so this really doesn’t affect me.  What about you?  Do you think it’s okay for companies to use natural ingredients like this, even though they are non-vegetarian/vegan?  And would you drink one of these strawberry frapps, now that you know what gives them their color?

I’d love to hear any/all of your thoughts.  Please feel free to leave a comment below!