Buh-Bye BPA

One of my primary life philosophies is: treat yourself like you matter.  

One side of that equation involves maintaining your emotional health, which includes: setting boundaries, asserting your worth, and never settling for poor treatment. The other side of that equation is how you take care of your physical health (ok, and mental health too), which includes: the foods you eat, exercise, hydration, and reducing the number of toxins in your home.

Several years ago, when I lived through the Great Emotional Breakdown Volume 2, I was hellbent on creating a holistic wellness plan to (hopefully) ensure greater mental health stability. One component of this holistic plan was to learn more about environmental toxins and the impact these toxins have on our endocrine system, which in turn, affects our physical and mental health.

The short story: There are pollutants a-plenty in all of our homes. But we all knew that. The sheer volume of toxic chemicals we are exposed to every day is overwhelming. It’s natural to feel like there are only two possible coping strategies:

  1. Trash everything in your home and spend a fortune starting over, or

  2. Give up on reducing toxin exposure before you even start because we’re all gonna die anyway.

As much as I love all or nothing thinking (just ask my therapist), when it comes to reducing toxins in my home, I’m a proponent of making one small change at a time. For example, I ran out of shaving cream today. Rather than mindlessly adding shaving cream to the Target list, I went to www.mightynest.com to find an alternative option made without harmful chemicals.

So let’s start with an easy Home Toxin Baddie: BPA. BPA is an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate, a hard, clear plastic, and epoxy resins. The FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups, and packaging for infant formula, but declared the amount of BPA currently occurring in foods “safe.”*

However, recent studies found that exposure to BPA may be associated with infertility, miscarriage, premature delivery, male sexual dysfunction, diabetes, heart disease, and more.

BPA is most commonly found in the lining of canned foods, plastic containers labeled with recycling code 3 or 7, cash register and ATM receipts, and electronics.

Reduce your exposure to BPA with these three easy changes you can make today.

  1. Replace plastic food containers with glass jars. Mason jars of all sizes are inexpensive and available for purchase at Target as well as most major grocery stores. I buy mine by the flat at our local kitchen supply store. Both Ball and Kerr brands have BPA-free lids.

  2. STOP BUYING PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES! Yah, I just yelled at you. Bring a refillable stainless steel water bottle with you everywhere you go. If you have worked at any company in the last ten years, you should have a logoed stainless steel water bottle rattling around in the back of a kitchen cabinet.

  3. Change your tampon. We’re living in the renaissance of menstrual healthcare. Choose a tampon brand that doesn’t use harsh chemicals to bleach the cotton and avoid plastic tampon applicators containing BPA. (Or – woman up and ditch plastic applicators all together, less energy used to produce the applicator and less waste after you use it for approximately 3 seconds). PS I’m obsessed with LOLA, a monthly subscription service for 100% organic tampons.

This list may seem obvious to my climate and health-concerned friends who wouldn’t dream of heating leftovers in a plastic container. Yet I am continuously shocked by how many people still use plastic containers and drink out of one-time-use plastic water bottles. Defaulting to these choices is understandable; plastic containers and bottled water are convenient and readily available. But there are alternatives available that are as user-friendly and convenient if you’re mindful enough to make the switch. All it takes is a sprinkle of awareness and a dash of practice to bust out of autopilot.

So why not start small? Pick an item from the list to try on for size and treat yourself like you matter.

*The plastics industry has begun replacing BPA with alternatives. Early studies indicate these alternatives are also harmful to our health.