Is there bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical resin used in manufacturing plastics, in your drinking water? BPA is in many plastic items people use in their kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of the house. For example, many plastic storage containers and cups contain BPA, although some manufacturers now use BPA-free alternatives. Even printed receipts the cashier hands you at the grocery store are coated with a film of BPA. That’s why so many cashiers wear gloves now to reduce BPA exposure. Other sources of BPA include:
- Dental sealants
- Sports equipment
- Eyeglass lenses
- Body products
- Packaged foods
- Some medical devices such as blood transfusion bags, IV bags, and catheters
- Canned foods (the lining of the can contains BPA)
Why is BPA a concern? Studies in animals show that BPA disrupts hormones, including estrogen. Some research suggests it affects fertility and increases the risk of health problems, like obesity and type 2 diabetes. This is an area of active research, so it’s unclear whether BPA behaves the same way in humans as in animals.
In the past few years, there has been a lot of controversy regarding the safety of BPA. Some studies suggest high levels of BPA exposure can cause reproductive problems, neurological disorders, obesity and cancer. However, other studies show no link between BPA exposure and these health problems.
But concerns about BPA are strong enough that the FDA no longer allows manufacturers to use BPA to make plastic items meant for babies, like sippy cups and bottles because of the effect it could have on children and their development. Many baby products, including ones babies put in their mouth contained BPA in the past.
Beyond plastic items, there’s another sneaky source of BPA about which you might not know. Tap water and bottled water are also sources of bis-phenol-A. So, you may get BPA exposure from the water you drink and use in recipes.
Can You Filter BPA with a Water Filter?
If BPA is in the water supply, you might wonder how to reduce your exposure and it it’s necessary to do so. While some studies find that low levels of BPA exposure through sources like water might not cause harm, others have found health effects at lower doses than previously believed. And the EPA hasn’t set a standard for how much BPA they should allow in drinking water — only for what’s considered safe in food packaging.
Will a water filter remove it? Water purification systems are available that claim to remove BPA as well as other impurities that contribute to water quality. These filtration systems use a technology called ionic adsorption micro-filtration. However, not every water filtration or purification system uses this technology, so buying a standard water filter may not remove BPA. If you’re concerned about it in your water, search for a filtration system that does. It’s your best bet for filtering out BPA from the water you drink.
What about Bottled Water?
If you’re tempted to buy bottled water, think twice. Although the bottler may claim they filter their water to remove impurities, like BPA, they package the water in plastic bottles made with polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Although PET is BPA-free, it is also a possible endocrine disruptor. You can get leaching of BPA into the water in a PET bottle if you leave it in a hot car in the sun.
Another problem: Studies show bottled water contains tiny plastic particles called microplastics. One study found that more than 90% of the bottled water brands evaluated contained microplastics. The amount of microplastics was higher in bottled water than tap water too.
Invest in a stainless-steel water bottle if you carry water with you and fill it at home with your own filtered water. Buying filtered bottled water in a plastic bottle defeats the purpose of filtering.
Watch Out for Other Kitchen Items That Contain BPA
Kitchens are a prime source of BPA exposure. The best way to avoid BPA and BPA-free plastics that may have similar effects is to rid your kitchen of plastic. Replace plastic storage containers with ones made of glass or stainless steel. Stop using canned foods, as resin coating that contains BPA lines most cans in supermarkets. Acidic foods, like canned tomato soup, are particularly risky since acidity increases the amount of BPA that enters the food.
Watch out for food packaging too. Some manufacturers package some foods in containers that contain polyolefin, a BPA-containing substance. Microwave-safe convenience foods you zap in the microwave are problematic too. This packaging may contain BPA, and when you microwave the food, the higher temperature increases leaching of BPA into the item you’re microwaving. Think out of the package when you shop.
Look more closely at your appliances. Does your coffee maker contain plastic parts? The risks are greater if hot liquid contacts BPA. Heat promotes leaching. How about the blender jug you use to make smoothies? Many are made of plastic. Glass or stainless steel is a safer choice but harder to find.
The Bottom Line
A water filter is a worthwhile investment if you’re concerned about BPA in your drinking water. As you now know, bottled water isn’t the answer, since it’s packaged in plastic bottles made of PET, a phthalate and endocrine disruptor. Also, look around your kitchen and eliminate other sources of BPA, including canned foods, plastic containers, and foods packaged in plastic. You may not be able to completely eliminate it, but you can lower your exposure by being more aware. It’s a small step to protect your health.
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- “Bottled Water: The Human Health Consequences of Drinking ….” 29 Jul. 2020, cleanwateraction.org/2020/07/29/bottled-water-human-health-consequences-drinking-plastic.
- “Dangers Of BPA In Plastic Water … – Berkey Water Filter.” theberkey.com/blogs/water-filter/159977927-dangers-of-bpa-in-plastic-water-bottles.
- “Questions & Answers on Bisphenol A (BPA) Use in Food ….” fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/questions-answers-bisphenol-bpa-use-food-contact-applications.
- “Commercially Bottled Water | Drinking Water | Healthy ….” cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/bottled/index.html.
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