Ask Dr. Salerno

BPA & DEHP Exposure Cause Endocrine Imbalance

BPA ToxicityMost people consider what they put in their food, but what about how it’s packaged? As many toxic ingredients fall under the radar, many are unaware of the potential negative effects food and drink packaging can have on early development. According to Child Health Evaluation and research Unit at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, researchers measured urinary concentrations of bisphenol A (BPA). If children tested high for BPA, they were twice as likely to be obese compared to the lower scoring test group. In another study surveying the effects of DEHP, doctors at New York University’s Langone Medical Center in New York City observed notable increases in insulin resistance. So where are all these chemicals hiding, and what can you do to avoid them/BPA toxicity?

First off, let’s take a closer look at BPA. In food, BPA camouflages itself in the form of canned goods, which uses the chemical to coat the inside of metal containers. If you’re eating anything canned, it’s important to avoid such items. It’s not just the food you have to keep in mind. BPA is also found in dental sealants, toys, canned soda, bottled water, and even cash register receipts. When in doubt, check the plastic number. Depending on the brand and the make of the container, each unit of plastic usually contains a number inside a recycle symbol. If it has a 3 or 7 – kick it to the curb.

Likewise, DEHP – a plastic-softening phthalate – is also found in medical devices, toys, shampoos, lotions, soaps, air freshners, raincoats, and many other commonly known household items. DEHP is lipophilic, which means its fat soluble, and fat soluble toxins can easily reach the blood, reproductive system, and vital organs. Infertility, post-natal death, and neural defects are all potential consequences of toxic packaging.

Data gathered through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 to 2010 showed individuals with the highest concentration of urinary DEHP had a 21.6% prevalence of insulin resistance. DEHP is an industrial chemical, so why is it in included in so many food items? If the FDA has enforced a ban on baby bottles containing BPA, why is it acceptable for adults to be subjected to such a toxic landscape?

In order to avoid chemicals, try to omit canned and plastic wrapped foods altogether – which research shows reduces DEHP metabolites by 56%. On another note, try ceramic cookware – which is considerably more inert than other cooking containers, as well as other safe glassware. With the right combination of packaging, product awareness, and clean practices – you and your family can maintain a chemical-free lifestyle and ensure a long, healthy future.