The Bottom Line on BPA

woman thinking

Bisphenol-A, or BPA as it is more familiarly known, is a carbon-based synthetic compound used in the making of clear, hard plastics that has been in use for over 50 years. Over the last decade, it has come under fire for potential health risks both here in the U.S. and abroad, with many countries banning it from use altogether. Here in the States, the FDA banned BPA in the use of baby-bottles and sippy cups in 2012, despite their assurances that it is safe in “low levels” of exposure. So, what’s the big deal?

While research is ongoing, the bottom line with BPA is better safe than sorry. Since the 1930s, scientists have known that BPA acts as a synthetic estrogen, categorizing it as an endocrine disruptor. The FDA, which previously approved the use of BPA as safe at low levels, has more recently expressed “some concern” over the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children. They also expressed some “minimal concern” for effects on the mammary gland and an earlier age for puberty for females in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol-A. Additional studies suggest links between BPA and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, behavioral problems, reproductive disorders, various cancers, liver abnormalities and growth defects in infants and children; studies on animals have shown that exposure to BPA creates permanent damage which spans generations.

With concerns like this being raised, many companies (including Wild Oats!) are making their packaging BPA-free. While labeling for BPA-free is still scarce, you can use the below tips and tricks to avoid it:

  • Check plastic bottles for the number 7 (most plastic products have an embossed number that indicates type; 7 indicates the presence of BPA)Choose fresh foods or glass containers over canned foods if you cannot determine whether they are BPA-free (and avoid highly acidic canned products such as tomato paste!)
  • Avoid paper receipts where possible, and wash your hands often. New reports suggest that receipts, and some recycled papers contain BPA, which is absorbed through the skin
  • Push your local representatives for labeling- in April 2013, California passed Prop 65 which imposes restrictions on the use of BPA. While it is not a complete ban, it does make it easier for consumers to make informed choices. To learn more about legislation in your state: http://www.saferstates.com/toxics_in_our_lives/chemicals_of_concern/BPA.html

If you are concerned about BPA that may be in your system (and testing indicates that 90% of the population does), don’t despair: A 2011 study showed that changing dietary habits can significantly reduce the amount of BPA in the body in as few as three days, if one switches to an entirely “fresh food diet.” Eliminating canned foods, switching to glass containers (and avoiding contact with the metal lids, which have been found to contain BPA) are all ways to minimize contact.

Want to do more? Bottom line, there is much work to be done on vetting the safety and toxicity of chemicals introduced to the food supply. Consumer advocacy and pushback are the number one way to influence these policies, so staying up to date on the latest information, purchasing only products that do not contain these chemicals, and involvement at the local and state levels of government are the most effective forms of advocacy.

To learn more about BPA:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3223004/ http://environment.about.com/od/healthenvironment/f/what-is-bisphenol-a.htm http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/14/world/americas/14bpa.html?_r=0

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm064437.htm

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-bpa/index.cfm

http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/bpa.html

http://www.ewg.org/bpa/

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14 Responses to The Bottom Line on BPA

  1. Rachel Cole says:

    This article says that Wild Oats does NOT use BPA in their packaging. I’m just trying to make sure- does this also include their canned goods? And if so, why is it not labeled as such? As a consumer, if it’s not on the can, I will assume it is not BPA free!

    • Oatie at Wild Oats says:

      Hi Rachel, thank you for your question. Wild Oats’ BPA-free policy covers all packaging, including canned goods, so you can rest easy. After reading your comment and a few others like it, we are considering adding BPA-free to our labels in the future; we always strive to put the information customers care about front and center. Thank you for trying our products, we hope you love them!

      • Sara Grut says:

        When exactly will BPA-Free labels be made available for your canned goods?

        Are your products GMO-free?

        • Oatie at Wild Oats says:

          Thank you so much for your question. This is something we’re working on, and we’ll have an answer for you shortly.

        • Oatie at Wild Oats says:

          Hi Sara- Thanks so much for your question. All Wild Oats canned and bottled products are packaged with BPA-free linings, with the exception of our soup. We’re actively working with the manufacturer to develop an alternative as soon as possible. As of today, the FDA says that the use of BPA in low doses is safe. This is a very important issue to us, so we’ll keep you posted as soon as we have additional information.

      • Justine says:

        I agree, we need to see BPA free on Wild Oats canned goods

        • Chelsea Vurciaga says:

          Hi Justine! Thanks for the feedback! We are listening and appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  2. Concerned mother says:

    This is misleading. In your blog you said that Wild Oats packaging is BPA free, however this is not true. I bought your applesauce today and didn’t notice until i got it home that it was marked with a #7 on the bottom of the plastic container, which contains BPA. Also, on your website FAQ’s, it states; All Wild Oats canned and bottled products are packaged with BPA-free linings, with the exception of our soup. This apparently does not include plastic containers. I’m very disappointed and wish i had known this, as i will not be buying this for my child again. I expected more from your company.

    • Oatie at Wild Oats says:

      Hi Concerned Mother
      Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We’re checking with our manufacturing partner to make sure that our applesauce containers do not contain BPA. The #7 is non-specific but the actual materials specifications will let us know for sure. We, like you, were disappointed by this and are acting quickly to make necessary changes. We sincerely do value your trust and appreciate you letting us know.
      Oatie

  3. consumer says:

    there still is a #7 on the applesauce container as of Feb. 2015 bought in Amsterdam, NY Wal Mart

  4. Vanessa says:

    So any update on the applesauce containers?

    • Wild Oats Moderator says:

      Hi Vanessa,
      A wide variety of plastic resins that don’t fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7. A few are even made from plants (polyactide) and are compostable. Polycarbonate is number 7, and is the hard clear plastic that has parents worried these days, after studies have shown it can leach potential hormone disruptors. But as you can see that is not the material used in our applesauce cups. However to provide an extra layer of assurance we require a BPA free certificate verifying that all cups we purchase are BPA free. Hope this clarifies, let us know if you have any other questions.

      Wild Oats Team

  5. Dee says:

    The bottom line everyone is if does not say on the label BPA Free then it is NOT BPA free no matter what they “say” on this website. If it were true it that it is BPA free it would say so on the label. If it has a 7 on it then you should be concerned about safety that is a clear marker no matter what they “say”. Homemade applesauce is easy to make and better anyway.

    • Oatie at Wild Oats says:

      Hi Dee,

      Actually, our applesauce all comes in BPA-Free containers. We don’t list that on the label, but we’ll look at changing that when we update our labels in the future. I won’t disagree that homemade applesauce is delicious, but our applesauce is convenient, and comes in BPA-Free containers.

      Oatie

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