We’ve all heard that BPA is not great for our health. Have you heard though that its substitutes are equally as damaging? New research is confirming we are not off the hook when using ‘BPA free’ items. One 2016 review of studies confirmed that BPA alternatives such as BPAF, BPB, BPF and BPS have shown to have similar or even greater damaging effects on our reproductive health! (Chen, D. et al 2016) Instead of aiming for BPA free plastics, we are now being advised to avoid using plastics altogether!
The plastics found in food and beverage packaging are the most detrimental. Water bottles, food storage and take away containers, linings of disposable cups and canned foods all contain either BPA or an equivalent. When warmed the plastic leaches out chemicals, such as BPA, that are endocrine disrupting compounds. This basically means they mess with our hormones. These chemicals compounds have been blamed for disrupting ‘meiosis’, a unique form of cell division that produces reproductive cells such as sperm and egg cells. Meiosis enables parent cells to split into ‘daughter’ cells and genetic material to be passed on. This is obviously not a process that should be interfered with.
There is an incredible amount of research on how damaging BPA can be to our reproductive health. Now that we aware that its substitutes are just as damaging, lets look at the most recent BPA reproductive research and see why we really should be aiming to avoid plastics:
- A 2019 literature review published in The International Journal of Endocrinology has determined that ‘BPA disrupts endocrine pathways, because it has weak oestrogenic, antiandrogenic and anti-thyroid activities...There is increasing evidence that BPA has impact on human fertility and is responsible for the reproductive pathologies, e.g. testicular dysgenesis syndrome, cryptorchidism (failure of the testes to descend into the scrotum), cancers, and decreased fertility in male and follicle loss in female‘ (Matuszczak E et. al 2019)
- A 2018 systematic review of 35 studies found ‘BPA has a direct negative impact on maternal, fetal and neonatal outcomes, including birthweight, rates of preterm birth, developmental defects, and recurrent miscarriage.‘ (Pergialotis. V et.al 2018 )
- A scientific literature review in 2016 indicated that ‘BPA may be associated with infertility in women… BPA may alter overall female reproductive capacity by affecting the morphology and function of the oviduct, uterus, ovary and hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis in animal models. In addition, BPA may disrupt oestrous cyclicity and implantation.‘ (Ziv-Gal, A. et.al 2016)
With all this accumulating evidence around how damaging plastics are, it is crucial to begin removing them from your food handling. Swap out those plastic drink bottles for stainless steel or glass. Store food in glass or stainless steel containers, especially warm food. Bring a ‘keepsy cup’ to your local cafe when ordering your next cup of tea. Perhaps we can even start the trend of ‘keepsy containers’ and introduce the habit of bringing stainless, glass or ceramic containers to restaurants when ordering take away food. Not only are you being wonderful to the environment but you are also protecting your reproductive health and the health of your future children and their children.
Chen D et.al (2016) ‘Bisphenol Analogues Other Than BPA: Environmental Occurrence, Human Exposure, and Toxicity – A Review’ Environmental Science & Technology. Vol 50(11):5438-53
Matuszczak E et.al (2019) ‘The Impact of Bisphenol on Fertility, Reproductive System, and Development: A Review of the Literature’. International Journal of Endocrinology. Volume 2019. Article ID 4068717
Pergialiotis V (2018) ‘Bisphenol A and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes: A Systematic Review of the Literature’. The Journal of Maternal- Fetal and Neonatal Medicine. Vol 31(24) p1-15
Ziv-Gal A (2016) ‘Evidence for Bisphenol A Induced Female Infertility: A Review’ Fertility and Sterility. Vol 106(4): 827-56
Photo Credit – Velizar Ivanov