Do You Know Nutrition: Learn the ins and outs of BPA

By Phylis Canion
May 14, 2013 at 12:14 a.m.

I have a child who suffers from asthma and breathing issues. We have tried everything with no success. We have removed all gluten from the diet, which has helped, but I'm now wondering about BPA. What are your thoughts? Any suggestions as to what to avoid that may contain BPA?

Let's begin by understanding BPA, bisphenol A, which is an industrial chemical that was first introduced in the 1960s used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

Polycarbonate plastics are often used in food storage containers, baby bottles (the European Union, Canada and the United States have recently banned BPA in baby bottles, however, many are still on the market so be sure to check labels), cups, plastic water bottles, canned goods (that is the white lining inside the can), toys and other consumer goods.

Some research has shown the BPA can seep into food and beverages from containers that are made with BPA. While The American Chemistry Council, an association that represents plastic manufacturers, contends that BPA poses no risk to human health, current research is reporting different information.

Researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health are the first to report an association between early childhood exposure to the chemical BPA and an elevated risk for asthma in young children.

In a study recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, author Kathleen Donohue, MD, states that BPA exposure was determined by measuring levels of BPA metabolites in urine samples taken during the third trimester of pregnancy and in children ages three, five and seven.

Results indicated an increased risk for wheeze and asthma were seen at fairly routine low doses of exposure to BPA according to Donohue. Here are some steps you can take to limit BPA exposure: Limit the use of canned foods and avoid plastics that have a three, six or seven recycle code on the bottom (the numbers one, two, four and five typically do not contain BPA). Do not heat plastic containers as this enables BPA to leach into the food or liquid.

Hand wash plastic containers rather than washing them in the dishwasher, avoid using plastic wrap if you still microwave (another danger in food preparation) and store all foods and drinks in glass or stainless steel rather than plastics. Replace all plastic containers that are worn, scratched or clouded.

Thought for the week: A goal without a plan is just a wish. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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