Recently when I went shopping for back to school lunch box items I noticed that everywhere I looked — from online, to Target to Toys r Us to Rite Aid — all products were splattered with happy “BPA-free!” labels. This is meant to tell consumers that products are safe because they don’t contain the harmful chemical known as bisphenol A.
But just because a product is BPA free doesn’t mean it’s safe.
Here’s where I get technical. BPA is necessary in plastics because it’s a strengthening agent. You can’t just remove BPA — you have to replace it with another strengthening agent. Most companies now replace BPA with BPS (bisphenol S) which some experts say is just as dangerous.
BPS has been called, “a hormone-disrupting cousin of BPA.” “The only difference between BPA and BPS seems to be that BPS is a bit less likely to seep into food and is slightly less effective at mimicking estrogen. But because BPS is a heartier compound, it’s slower to degrade than BPA and more persistent once it gets into your body or the environment.”
As George Bittner, a chemist and neurobiologist said, “Consumers need to understand that products advertised as BPA-free or phthalate-free is a marketing solution rather than a health solution.”
Still with me? Good. Did you already buy a bunch of BPA free things and now you’re just sitting there annoyed? Yeah, me, too.
I got Buck a “BPA-free” lunch box years ago and he won’t give the damn thing up, so I just put his food in little glass and stainless steel containers inside his lunch box or line his lunch box with wax paper so his food doesn’t touch the plastic. Emmy and August have stainless steel bento lunch boxes from Planet Box that I LOVE and we never, ever, ever, ever drink out of plastic water bottles. The plastic leaches right into the water and then you drink it. Seriously. That’s disgusting.
Am I sounding too extreme? Too overly cautious? Then think about this —
Even if you don’t believe that plastic leaches into your water and could be bad for your health — There is a floating garbage patch twice the size of Texas polluting the Pacific Ocean and it’s full of plastic water bottles and other insanely wasteful human items. Do you really want to contribute to it?
August still occasionally drinks out of glass baby bottles (I know, he’s five, someone call the parenting police on me) from Lifefactory and Emmy has a Lifefactory water bottle that she loves (you have to get it with the straw-thing! Your kids will drink so much water!)
I send Buck to school with a Klean Kanteen because well, he’s broken two glass bottles already and continuing to send him to school with glass is probably a public safety hazard.
And that’s it. That’s a good place to start when it comes to keeping you and your family safe from a bunch of yucky stuff. At this point you’re probably thinking, Wow, Holly, aren’t you getting a little obsessive here? You’re spending all this time running away from the plastic boogie man and then you’re going to end up getting hit by a bus.
I know. I think about that sometimes. And as I lie in the street waiting for the paramedics to come, I will sip from my Klean Kanteen and think, Oh, the irony!