I’d only become aware of Bisphenol A (BPA) and its hazards relatively recently. Before this, all I knew was that disposable plastic boxes and drinking water bottles should not be reused too often but I did not know why.
The reason is Bisphenol A which is a compound used primarily in the making of polycarbonate plastics. Polycarbonate plastic is the hard clear plastic usually used in the making of drinking bottles, baby bottles, food containers – the main areas which pose a risk of this chemical leeching into our food and drink and potentially causing toxic reactions including cancer.
According to research, putting hot liquids in plastic containers containing Bisphenol A or allowing liquids to heat up in such containers may cause the plastic to break down and the Bisphenol A to leech into your food and drink. This is the reason why you are not advised to keep your plastic water bottle in your hot car or to use certain plastics in the microwave or to store hot food.
Since I was aware of Bisphenol A and its possible side effects I’ve decided to play it safe and avoid using plastic products which may contain Bisphenol A as far as possible. I use the international Resin Identification Code as a rough guide. If you look at your newer plastic items, you will notice somewhere on it a triangle and a number in it.
This is the code which tells you what sort of plastic this product is made of and how it may be recycled as not all plastics are recycled the same way. I stick to plastics that show Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 as apparently no Bisphenol A is used in the polymerization process of these plastics.
You might notice that hard plastic bottles are very commonly found in the household department these days ever since people stopped reusing their mineral water bottles over and over. However, not all plastics are BPA free and I tend to steer clear of plastics that do not show a Resin Identification Code just to be on the safe side.
For bringing food to work, I use Lock n Lock boxes. Mine are all labeled 5 (Polypropylene). For drinking water, I use Bros bottles (No. 5). For food storage, I use Rubbermaid (the Bisphenol A free ones). I could not find any information on the plastics used in Tupperware but this link tells us that only a handful of Tupperware lines contain Bisphenol A. Still I play it safe and only use it to store dry goods like biscuits, sugar etc.
Whilst Bisphenol A leeches out most if the container is heated or if heated items are placed in it, I’m not taking chances. After all, I do not know just how hot “heated” means and neither do I know if it’ll leech out anyway. I do not have kids so I cannot vouch for feeding bottles or children friendly plastics that are Bisphenol A free. If you are a mother and do know, please feel free to help out in the comments below.
The best option for food and drink of course is glass. It can last you nearly forever, has no chemicals, will not stain and is odour-less. It is however, fragile and heavy. I do try to use glass containers for keeping food at home where possible but it also takes up too much space in the freezer :P Another option is stainless steel but I’m a little bit wary about that too as quality of stainless steel differs and I’ve seen some kinds of stainless steel discolour upon contact with heat too.
Have you thought about this subject? Do you take note of your plastics for food and drink? What products do you know of that are Bisphenol-A free or that you would recommend for keeping food and drink?