Need another reason to toss your bottled water in the recycling bin for good? A recent study suggests that that Bisphenol-A (commonly referred to as BPA), a chemical found in plastic food containers and tin can liners, may disrupt normal hormone activity, which may in turn, have profound health effects.
The study tested levels of BPA in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) compared with healthy women. PCOS is a condition in which women produce too much androgen (or “male”) hormone and is often accompanied by irregular menstrual cycles and infertility, insulin resistance, as well as other symptoms. While it is fairly well established that obesity contributes to the development of PCOS, the exact cause is unknown. It has been theorized that BPA, which is known to have hormone-like activity in the body, may contribute to PCOS.
The study found that women with PCOS had higher levels of BPA compared to the healthy women. While this doesn’t establish a causal relationship, the researchers hypothesize that BPA has some role in the development of PCOS. More research is clearly needed to clarify the relationship, if any, between BPA and PCOS, but in the meantime the safest bet is to avoid the stuff when possible.
- Choose glass or ceramic food containers, especially when re-heating food.
- Opt for a reusable BPA-free water bottle; it will help your wallet and the environment too!
- Dispose of any plastic food or beverage containers that are scratched.
- Avoid food containers marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 as these may have been made with BPA. Plastics labeled with codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA.