After years of research it is well known that plastics containing Bisphenol A (BPA) are damaging to our health. It mimics estrogens in such that it binds to the same receptors as female hormones would. BPA is an endocrine disrupter, causing brain and reproductive problems, a rise in certain cancers.
As a result, there was a huge push to remove BPA from the majority of the public’s eating, drinking, and storage containers. This included the lining on the inside of canned foods, which contained the chemical. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned BPA from baby bottles and children’s sippy cups when concerns were raised over the link between the chemical and harmful effects on developing fetuses, infants, and children.
New studies are also presenting overwhelming evidence that BPA-free alternatives, such as Bisphenol S (BPS), may not be as safe as previously thought. Lesser-known bisphenols, such as BPAF and BPC also mimic and bind to estrogen receptors. In several studies, BPA alternatives have proven to impact our health more negatively than BPA.
BPA and BPS Study
A UCLA study conducted by Wayne et al (2015) revealed the impact of the chemicals, BPA and BPS, on the genes and brain cells that control the reproductive systems of zebra fish. In the study, they exposed the zebra fish to low levels of BPA and BPS. Afterward, they recorded the impact of the chemicals, noting that low levels of BPS affected the zebra fish embryo in ways similar to BPA. Some of these effects included rapid embryonic development, premature birth, and a change in estrogen and thyroid hormones.
Previous to this study in 2013, Texas researchers discovered that, in quantities as small as one part per trillion, BPS could “interfere with the normal functioning of a cell” and in many instances led to cell death. When comparing the rate of accelerated neural cell growth of BPA to BPS, it was found that BPS exceeded BPA by 60 percent. BPA was reported to show accelerated growth at 180 percent to BPS’s 240 percent. The zebra fish exposed to either chemical exhibited signs of hyperactivity.
In this 2014 study carried out by Wang et al, female rats were found to have developed heart arrhythmia when exposed to doses equivalent to those humans would be exposed to. It also lowered the sperm count in male rats, among other issues.
It was found in a study conducted by Scott Belcher, an endocrine biologist at the University of Cincinnati, that after being exposed to levels of high heat, BPA leached from the plastics 55 times faster than when under cold or normal conditions. Additionally, after boiling items such as bottles or sippy cups, and then allowing them to cool, the leakage rate also increased.
Reducing Everyday Exposure
Living bisphenol-free can prove challenging since these chemicals are used in a wide range of consumer products that are manufactured daily. This makes it unrealistic for us to completely cut out BPA and other chemicals such as BPS from our lives. However, we can definitely take steps to reduce our exposure as much as possible. Check out these tips to reduce your everyday exposure:
- Use aluminum foil, beeswax-coated cotton wrap (reusable), or parchment paper instead of plastic wrap.
- Buy organic tea (conventional tea is full of pesticides) that comes in loose-leaf form. You can use a stainless steel or glass tea strainer when brewing tea. If you prefer to buy a brand that comes pre-packaged, make sure the bag does not contain epichlorophydrin, which is an epoxy used to treat paper tea bags. Also, avoid the silky mesh bags because they’re made of plastic.
- Speaking of brewing, when brewing coffee use a French press or ceramic drip.
- Never use plastic utensils, plates or cups. Use stainless steel, ceramic, or glass instead.
- Never, ever microwave meals in a plastic container because the chemicals leach into your food when the plastic is exposed to high heat.
- Buy fresh or frozen produce instead of canned. The linings most often contain BPA, BPS, or PET.
- Never drink water from plastic bottles. Drink tap water and when on the go, use a stainless steel or glass storage container. Also, skip the soda in cans. They are usually lined with BPA or BPS.
- Never give your infants or toddlers plastic teething rings and use glass baby bottles.
- Thermal paper is used everywhere. To avoid absorbing it with your fingers, request a receipt be sent to your email—since many retailers provide this option now—or avoid getting a receipt all together, unless you absolutely need it.
- #3 and #7 plastics contain BPA. Opt for #2, #4 and #5 instead.
How Does This Affect My Choice in a Juicer?
Even though, the Food and Drug Administration has approved of the use of BPA/BPS and the EPA does not consider it to pose any threat to adults, there is still a cause for concern when fetuses, infants and children are exposed to the chemicals, especially since they are still developing. Researchers caution against high exposure to the chemical, which may pose a risk in a time of critical development.
The determination out on BPS varies because some researchers state the alternative chemical is not safer, while some state that it is not as hazardous as BPA, but it is always best to err on the side of caution where you and your family’s health is involved. Sure, you can opt to avoid plastics completely, but that is not entirely realistic.
When you make the decision to begin juicing, it can be difficult to avoid these chemicals, since BPA and BPS are prevalent among most plastic items on the market today, especially in juicers. Even BPA free juicers are no longer as safe as it sounds. I created a short list of tips to help you make a decision when it comes to purchasing and the subsequent use of a juicer, since most juicers are made with multiple plastic components.
- Limit your exposure to all plastics you come into contact with by switching them to health-friendly alternatives such as glass, ceramic, or stainless steel.
- Use storage containers and dishes not made from BPA or BPS. Silicone, Polypropylene (PP), HDPE/LDPE, glass, and stainless steel are excellent alternatives. Plus, when using a glass container, your juice tends to retain its quality better.
- If the juicer comes with a plastic juice collector, alternate it with a glass container. A mason jar is an excellent collector and storage container for your juice.
- Check the manufacturer’s website to determine if the juicer components contain BPA or BPS.
- Cold press (masticating) juicers are the better option since they work slowly and do not generate any heat while juicing.
- Don’t wash plastics containing BPA or BPS in hot water. Washing them by hand is always recommended.