What does BPA-free mean?
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What Does BPA-Free Mean?

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May. 13 2021, Published 2:31 p.m. ET

When you purchase a product labeled BPA-free, the implication is that this product is somehow safer than those that are not labeled as such. Yet, very few people understand what BPA-free means. Make no mistake, though, the distinctions between BPA and BPA-free products is highly important, as BPA can impact your and your child’s safety in the long run.

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Plastic bottles
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What does BPA-free mean?

To understand BPA-free, you must first understand what BPA itself is. BPA stands for bisphenol A, an industrial chemical used in the manufacturing of certain polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. According to the Mayo Clinic, BPA has been around since the 1960s. BPA plastics have historically been used to make containers meant to hold food or beverages. Similarly, BPA resins were used to coat the inside of food cans and bottle tops, as well as dental sealants or composites. And unfortunately, BPA can cause a number of negative health effects.

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Conversely, products labeled as BPA-free contain no such chemicals. This is a good thing, since, according to Medical News Today, this type of chemical has been linked to a whole host of cardiovascular problems like coronary artery heart disease, hypertension, heart attack, angina, and more. That’s with only low-dose exposure too, imagine ingesting that chemical for decades without realizing it. However, BPA-free plastics still contain other chemicals that can be harmful.

BPA-free plastics are much more common today, especially when it comes to the materials manufacturers use to make baby dishware, sippy cups, toys, and the like. There are also plenty of BPA-free water bottles and food storage containers on the market, which are a safer bet than those that contain BPA or its “safer” replacements, bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF).

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Canned Goods
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What are BPA plastics?

According to Healthline, BPA can be found in a number of common plastics and products. In addition to containers and canned food, BPA can be found in toiletries, thermal printed receipts, household electronics, DVDs, and CDs. It can also be found in feminine hygiene products and eyeglass lenses: two products meant to be in contact with sensitive areas of the human body for extended periods of time. 

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How do BPA plastics affect our hormones?

BPA plastics recently returned to our collective consciousness when an interview on the Joe Rogan Experience featured a discussion on the hormonal effects of the chemical. Dr. Shanna Swan indicated that some of these chemicals have resulted in lower testosterone, increased infertility in women, and psychological effects like depression and increased anxiety.

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Are K-Cups BPA-free?

Keurig cups, otherwise known as K-Cups are pretty lousy for the environment in every way, but at least they are BPA-free. According to Mother Jones, K-Cups are generally made from No. 7 plastic, which meets and exceeds applicable FDA standards. Unfortunately, though BPA may be gone from many of these products, its replacements aren’t really much better.

Keurig coffee machine
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Are BPA-free products fully safe?

According to Care, just because a product is labeled as BPA-free doesn’t mean it’s safe to use. In fact, 70 percent of all BPA-free products still leach harmful chemicals into food and beverages. Research has shown that products continuing BPF and BPS contain compounds that may disrupt cellular function, again, even in very small doses. Beware of any plastics labeled as No. 3 or 7, as they still contain BPA-related chemicals.

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