Don’t Use Plastic Cups
What is Bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic synthetic compound used to make plastic containers for drinking bottles and cups. It is even used to make the protective coatings for canned food and drinks.
Is BPA in food harmful?
The concerns are that BPA is one of many endocrine disruptor substances that have the potential to interact with human hormone systems. Endocrine disruptor are linked to cancer including breast cancer, neurological or developmental issues and even late onset diabetes. BPA does not stay intact with the plastic. Small amount of BPA are known to transfer from the packaging into food and drinks. Scott Belcher, PhD, studies the effects of temperature on BPA and found that increase in temperature such as boiling hot water or microwaving plastic containers releases 55 times faster than cold water!
Why not ban BPA?
Canada have already banned the use of BPA in the manufacturing of baby bottles. Followed by France in January 2015. Other organisations including Breast Cancer UK are campaigning for the ban in United Kingdom.
In January 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessed the potential of BPA to cause adverse effects and have concluded that the exposure level from our diet is considered safe. Multiple independent studies have shown that, even when consumed at high levels, BPA is rapidly absorbed, detoxified and eliminated from humans. However, long term studies are still being investigated to understand the long term exposure of BPA. To address this issue, EFSA have also lowered the tolerable daily intake (TDI) from 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day (µg/kg of bw/day) to 4 µg/kg of bw/day. The TDI is the estimated quantity of a chemical substance that can be consumed daily over a lifetime without causing considerable risk to health. BPA in food containers are significantly below the new TDI and therefore is not a health concern to consumers of any age group. This includes unborn children, infants and pregnant mothers.
How to avoid BPA?
- More and more products are being promoted and labelled as BPA-free. Those that are not, look for the recycling number that marks what type of plastic is used. Code 7 “others” could possibly be made with BPA. Only codes 1, 2, 4 & 5 are food safe.
- Avoid drinking hot water using plastic containers and microwave safe plastics in microwaves. (It is unbelievable that some bubble tea store serve hot bubble tea in plastic cups!)
- Avoid canned food and drinks
- Drink from ceramic cups
- Use alternatives such as metal cutlery (we’ve seen people use plastic spoons to mix their tea!).
Hopefully one day the Food Standard Agency (UK), European Food Safety Authority (Europe) and Food and Drug Administration (US) will one day enforce a total ban of BPA.