PCOS Women: Avoiding BPA – is it possible?

BPA (bisphenol-A) – a synthetic estrogen used to harden polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resin – is a troubling element of most plastics that we use on a daily basis. It is proven to be an endocrine disrupter, which is especially worrisome for women who are trying to get pregnant, especially those of us with PCOS.

BPA-Endocrine Disorder (source):

  1. Reduces the number of oocytes (cell in ovary that may undergo meiotic division to form an ovum)
  2. Lowers successful number of births
  3. Changes gene expression
  4. Reduces the function of Estrogen Receptor Beta
  5. Negatively affects mitochondrial function
  6. Alters hypothalamic pituitary / increases testosterone
  7. Lowers progesterone
  8. alters GnRH secretion
  9. Increases glucocorticoids
  10. heightens response to stress, elevates levels of anxiety

It also has been linked to breast cancer, early puberty, and infertility in women without PCOS.

Yikes. This horrible compound must be banned, right? No – actually, it’s in pretty much all plastics and the plastic lining of canned foods. In Europe, Canada AND China, it’s been banned in baby bottles – but the U.S. still allows this.

As I embark on the journey to eat healthy while being cost efficient, it’s very hard to avoid chemicals like BPA. Fast Company writer Ariel Schwartz details a few ways to avoid this chemical, but it’s really hard:

  • Don’t drink out of plastic bottles (no water bottles). Drink only from BPA-free stainless steel water bottles.
  • Don’t eat microwavable meals that come out of plastic containers – eat freshly prepared meals.
  • Don’t use plastic utensils
  • Avoid all canned foods and replace with non-canned variations. Especially avoid canned foods known to be high in BPA: coconut milk, c, meat, vegetables, meals, juice, fish, beans, meal-replacement drinks, and fruit, and anything acidic, salty, or fatty. (Basically don’t eat canned foods.)
  • Don’t use plastic storage containers – only glass containers with BPA-free plastic lids. And food shouldn’t touch the lids.
  • Don’t use a plastic coffee maker, use a french press or ceramic drip. Don’t drink coffee out unless it comes in a french press.

David Suzuki adds the following tips:

  • Swap out plastic wrap for parchment paper, glass jars, or recycled aluminum foil
  • Keep plastic out of the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher – because BPA gets worse in hot or cold temperatures
  • Don’t use disposable cups – they’re often lined with BPA or BPS – bring a glass bug to get coffee if you want to drink it out
  • Don’t drink from aluminum soda cans
  • Buy your kids wood and cloth toys – avoid plastic ones
  • Ask your dentist to avoid dental sealants and composites that contain BPA
  • Avoid receipts(!?!) as they actually contain 250 to 1000 times the amount of BPA typically found in a can of food – and it readily transfers from the receipt to skin and cannot be washed off (or just wear gloves all the time, eeks.)

Even if you follow these tips to the T, BPA will still be in your body – it’s found in whole eggs and milk (due to pre-market processing.)

Unfortunately, BPA-free containers often have replacement chemicals that are just as bad for you! A report found that even BPA-free plastics have estrogenic activity. With my hormone disorder not under control and my desire to have a baby in the next two years, I’m going to focus on buying BPA-free food as much as possible. I don’t know how to avoid things like receipts, but at least I can stop putting BPA into my body via what I eat and drink. Just thinking of everything that has plastic in it that touches what I consume makes my head spin – it seems impossible to avoid. However, I’m going to try!

Are any of you entirely BPA free?


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