Protect Your Baby. Avoid BPA.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Bisphenol A is nasty and because it’s used a lot, it’s easy to be exposed to the toxin.Exposure to BPA is especially serious for pregnant women because of the harmful effects to fetuses, including:

  • Abnormalities in brain and liver function;
  • Altered behavior of more than 200 genes;
  • Birth defects to the male and female reproductive systems, including permanent changes to the genital tract, damage to eggs, increased anogenital distance in both sexes, sperm reduction, and early sexual maturity;
  • Breast cells that are pre-disposed to cancer and changes in mammary gland tissue;
  • Cardiovascular disease;
  • Change to infants’ behavior and brains (According to watchdog organization the Environmental Working Group, BPA “affects the developing brain and reproductive systems of animals exposed to low doses during pregnancy and early life”);
  • Chromosome damage;
  • Diabetes;
  • Disrupted endocrine system;
  • Interrupted cell function in fetuses, infants, and children;
  • Miscarriage;
  • Mood disorders;
  • Obesity;
  • Prostate cells that are more sensitive to cancer and increased prostate weight. 1
Because of the presence of BPA, the Environmental Working Group actually issued a warning that pregnant women and children should limit their consumption of canned foods. 2

One in five cans of food tested contain BPA, and the rate jumps to one in three cans of vegetables and pastas. BPA is found in the liners of cans of soda pop, canned tuna, canned fruit like peaches and pineapples, canned vegetables like green beans and corn, and canned soups like tomato and chicken noodle. (It’s also found in infant formula, polycarbonate water bottles, children’s sippy cups, dental sealants, canning lids, and receipt paper.) 3

Possible solutions

Cool WaterSo what’s a pregnant mama to do?

First, when you’re drinking your recommended 64-fluid ounces of water a day, opt for a drinking glass and pitch your plastic water bottle.

As much as possible, limit your use of canned foods.

Use as few plastic containers as possible, and never heat your food in plastic containers. If you must use plastic containers, only use Plastics #1, #2, and #4. (Avoid #7 and polycarbonate plastics.) Washing plastic containers in hot water (both handwashing or in a dishwasher) is a really bad idea, too, because when the plastic heats up, it leaches much more BPA. 6

Throw your receipts away as soon as possible. If you do need to keep a receipt, store it in a resealable plastic bag.

Once your baby’s born and you start drinking your morning cup of coffee again, try to use a French press instead of a plastic coffee maker.

There is some great news, though! Last month, USA Today reported that eating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables reduces exposure to BPA. A recent study proved that people get exposed to BPA by food packaging. 7

As a mother, I found out about the dangers of BPA when I was halfway through my pregnancy with Little Sister. (And there I thought I had been making healthy, homemade meals … using canned foods as ingredients.) I know Big Brother was exposed to a lot more BPA than he should have been. Imagine my horror when I researched BPA and thought back to how I faithfully drank water ALL DAY, EVERY DAY from a polycarbonate bottle. Take it from me: these recommendations may add more work to your already busy nine months, but your developing baby’s health is completely worth your effort and precaution!


1. “Toxic Plastics Chemical in Infant Formula.” Jane Houlihan and Sonya Lunder. Environmental Working Group. Aug. 8, 2007.
 “No BPA for Baby Bottles in U.S.” Lyndsey Layton. The Washington Post. March 6, 2009, p. A06.
BPA Chemical Leaches from Hard Plastic Drinking Bottles Into the Body Study.” Catharine Paddock. Medical News Today. May 22, 2009.
2. “Bisphenol A: Toxic plastics chemical in canned food.” Environmental Working Group.
3. “Toxic Plastics Chemical in Infant Formula.” Jane Houlihan and Sonya Lunder. Environmental Working Group. Aug. 8, 2007.
4. “What You Can Do.” Making Our Milk Safe.
5. “Bisphenol A: Toxic plastics chemical in canned food.” Environmental Working Group.
6. “Plastic (Not) Fantastic: Food Containers Leach a Potentially Harmful Chemical.” David Biello. Scientific American. Feb. 19, 2008.
7. “Study: Fresh food diet cuts exposure to chemical BPA.” Wendy Koch. USA Today. March 30, 2011.
Photo credit
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Hilary Kimes Bernstein is a Christ follower, wife, mama, and journalist. She writes about making healthy decisions that honor God and happen to help the environment at Accidentally Green. Short and sweet - like her writing - Hilary is the author of several healthy living eBooks.

Lovely comments

  1. says

    This is horrifying. Thank you, though, for admitting that you too were eating canned food and drinking from plastic bottles. We just finished off canned green beans last night. :(

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