How to avoid BPA exposure for your kids.

BPA is highly toxic for children. Their bodies are not able to rid themselves of this estrogenic chemical as easily as adult bodies are - not that we can do so that easily either. But as bad as it is for adults, it is worse for children. According to Environmantal Defense, "bisphenol A, or BPA... is associated with a range of potential health effects: obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer and a wide range of developmental problems"
Based on my own experience fending off BPA everyday, here goes a morning to bedtime guide:
  • Morning: your kids get up and you go to feed them breakfast. Cereal is the easy (convenient) breakfast of choice. But it does come wrapped in a plastic bag. Which means that no matter how expensive or healthy your cereal claims to be, it is for sure full of BPA. All right, maybe not full, but how much do you think that cereal gets tossed around in its plastic bag before it reaches your kids mouth? You be the judge. A better choice might be oatmeal that comes in a paper box or bag. Good quality granola (again, watch the packaging, as only Eden Foods puts out BPA-free packaged foods at this point), bread and butter, cheese, nut butters, eggs... Avoid milk and/or orange juice cartons, as they are lined with BPA. Buy your milk and yogurt in glass jars; if it is too expensive, use less of it. Buy butter, cheese and cream cheese in paper or foil. Avoid cheeses that come wrapped in plastic. I call the cheese maker before market day, order ahead and ask them to wrap it in paper. When you get to the market, it is ready for you to take and that way you avoid the lines and unecessary wait. I also buy cheese in whole, half or quarter wheels, as they come naturally wrapped/ protected in wax. Avoid meats wrapped in plastic as well; ask the butcher to wrap your meat in paper. Cold cuts are tricky, as they come already wrapped in plastics of all sorts. I try to avoid cold cuts, but once in a while will buy a little just for variety sake, and I do ask the deli person to put it in paper instead of plastic. When I get home, I put it in glass ware so it does not dry up. Last but not least: coffee. Most electric coffe makers are made of plastic on the inside. The water gets heated in plastic, and then goes through more plastic in order to get to the ground coffee beans. I got rid of my coffee maker, and started making coffee by hand, as most people stil do in Brazil. It tastes better that way actually, so all the more reason to do it. I bought a porcelain pot and filter directly from Melitta. Recently I saw a beautiful stainless steel french press from Frieling; I tried the coffee, and it was excellent. The french press I have, and old Starbucks one, has plastic on the lid, but I've seen some people successfully remove that plastic; I haven't tried that yet, as I love my drip coffee. 
  • School and/or camp: sending kids to school with their own lunches can be a major BPA toxic disaster. The minute you pull out those little Ziploc bags, you've gone down the road of doom- I'm laughing as I write this, because I know how ridiculously insane this sounds... and is. Toss your Ziploc bags. That is correct, get rid of all of them, all sizes and types. They all contain BPA. While you are at it, also get rid of the tupperware. Recycle it if you can, or use it for keeping stuff like nails and bolts in the garage, because I promise you that if you keep it in the kitchen, you'll probably use it sooner or later, when that little voice in your head says '' oh c'mon, it's not so bad, just once, what's the big deal...'' Purchase some stainless steel little containers at Amazon or ToGoWare, and/or a stainless steel tiffin. It never breaks, and it works great. Also, if you are in a pinch, wrap the sandwiches in wax-paper bags; you can find good quality ones at the health food store. Don't forget to also put their water in a stainless steel container.
  • Snacks: major BPA time! Chips, ''healthy'' granola bars, milk and chocolate milk, juice boxes, ''healty'' pop-tarts, dried fruit in pouches, pretzels... everything comes wrapped in plastic, all of it with BPA. This is, for me, the single hardest task every day that I have to pack a snack for the kids, and keep it varied and nutritious. I use a lot of nuts and dried fruit from bulk, as well as anything else that I can find in bulk: pretzels, sesame sticks, fig bars, animal crackers... I will also pack pieces of cheese and crackers, (organic, non GMO) corn chips when I find them in a paper bag, a piece of good quality chocolate (it usually comes wrapped in foil instead of plastic), fruit, carrots, home-baked or good quality bakery stuff like scones, muffins and cookies that are made with preferably whole wheat flour and organic milk, eggs and butter.
  • Dinner: try to find pasta that comes in a paper box instead of a plastic wrap. It's not hard to find even in the regular super market. Buy your olive oil, and/or any other oils, in glass jars. Avoid the olive oils that come in tin cans, because they are lined with BPA. The same goes for vinegar and mustard, glass only. Buy sea salt that comes in a paper containers instead of plastic, or buy it in bulk. Do not buy canned stuff like beans, corn, peas, fruit or pie fillings.... the cans all come lined with BPA. Buy beans and/or other dry goods in bulk or paper bags, and store them in glass jars. You can use very cheap canning jars to store prety much anything. The nice good old Ball Jars will hold anything from raw milk to granola and/or iced tea. Most frozen stuff also comes in plastic bags, or wrapped in plastic, which gives you yet another reason to shop for fresh vegetables and foods. Don't forget to use non-plastic utensils to cook your food with. Wood, bamboo and/or metal are good choices. The same goes for baking spatulas, bowls and bakeware: keep it to glass, wood, ceramic, stainless steel, iron. Essentially, traditional ustensils and pots, pans and bakeware. Plastic and silicone... toss it, or use it to dig sand at the beach or some other such activity. 
  • Putting stuff away: dinner is finished, and it is time to store the left-overs. Use glass ware. If you have the means and are willing to invest the money and time, buy glass ware that comes with glass lids. If you are like me, who already has glass ware that comes with plastic lids, just avoid letting the food touch the lid. You can find glass ware prety much in any store, from cheap to fancy, so I will leave that up to you. I do very much like Fante's Kitchen, but will also buy stuff from Amazon, Ace Hardware (good place to find any and all sizes of Ball Jars- order ahead, and they free-ship to the store for you) or any place that I can find what I am looking for. Also, please get rid of Saran wrap. That stuff is evil. Totally toxic, and completely non-reusable or recycleable. I firat heard that it was toxic, and that it messed with women's hormones, over 15 years ago when I met a person working for the UN in NY; he told me about the studies that they were conducting on plastic. I have avoided Saran wrap since then, but curiously, never saw any studies published in major papers back then. I only found the information published recently, on Slow Death by Rubber Duck, and I am afraid to say that the person from the UN was right on the mark. 
  • Bed time: try to use tooth paste that comes in metal tubes instead of plastic- I use Tom's of Maine for the kids. You can also even find toothbrushes made with natural bristles. Skip the glysterine. Why? You can find a very interesting history on glysterine on Slow Death by Rubber Duck. While at it, you can consider the bristles of your brush as well, if you are serious about avoiding plastic. I have not gone that far on my brushes, but I think that once one of them breaks, I will consider it.
I hope that is helpful to all. I don't mean to cause undue stress on anyone, but instead to help avoid any unforeseen health problems that could be caused by poor governemnet environmental regulation. I once read that Laura Bush would not let anything in the White House kitchen that was not organic. Why would she quietly go to such extent if the FDA promotes all regular hormone, antibiotic, radiated and chemically-laced foods? Remember this simple fact: currently, industry does not have to show to the government that the products they put out are safe. Instead, it is up to the government to prove (through studies that can be questioned and delayed) that the chemicals in the products can be potentially unsafe and harmful. And they need to do this with the limited data that industry will release (many industries claim their chemical combinations to be proprietary secrets, and therefore make it unavailable to the public and regulatory agencies). Until there are changes in the way that industry, and especially the chemical industry, is regulated, I am afraid it is up to us to stay up to date on the data, and protect ourselves as best as we can.

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