Ditch plastics for a healthier baby. That certainly sounds like a crazy claim, but bisphenol-A, a component found in most plastic products, may wreak havoc on developing systems. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 90 percent of Americans have traces of the chemical in their blood streams.
What's the harm?
BPA has been used to harden plastics for many years. It leaches into our food from the containers it's stored in – both plastics and cans alike. In recent years, BPA has been banned from baby products, but it used to be found in bottles, toys and sippy cups. While there's never been a definitive study to prove once and for all that the chemical is unsafe for us, even the Food and Drug Administration is changing its views. Where the organization used to claim wholeheartedly that BPA was safe, it is now expressing some concern about a mom-to-be's exposure to it. Thought to mimic hormones, BPA has the potential to disrupt our endocrine system and harm fetal development. Some studies have drawn a link between BPA and brain development, heart problems and cancer.
What you can do
The federal government is currently conducting new research on the effects of BPA. While there are few restrictions on its use right now, you may want to play it extra safe now that you're expecting. Here's how you can limit your exposure:
Go for the glass
When choosing food storage containers, choose sturdy glass over plastic. Opt for a glass or metal reusable water bottle. And never reheat food in a plastic dish, or when it's covered by plastic wrap. Heating plastic may release BPA into your food.
Skip the cans
BPA has been found in the lining of canned goods and in soda cans. Phase out your soda habit and opt for a healthier alternative: Flavored water or tea. Canned foods may be easy, but choosing a fresh or dried substitute is a healthier option.
Look for a 3 or 7
Plastic is everywhere and it can be impossible to avoid. If you must use a plastic dish or container for your food, ensure it doesn't have a 3 or 7 recycle code stamped on the bottom of it. These items are more likely to contain the potentially harmful chemical.
So, what do you think? Is BPA of concern to you? What are you doing during your pregnancy to limit your exposure to it?