What’s the Fuss About BPA?

You’ve probably noticed the words ‘BPA-Free’ on thepackaging of baby bottles, sippy cups, teething rings and the like. You’ve probably also wondered – what exactly does it mean?


BPA is short for a chemical called bisphenol A which has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. It is commonly found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages. Epoxy resins are used to coat the insides of metal cans and containers, to prevent corrosion.

Many studies have shown that BPA can seep into food and liquids from containers made with BPA. Consumption of these contaminated foods and liquids has been linked to certain cancers, behavioural problems, changes in the brain and reproductive system, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

The cumulative body of evidence against BPA is not yet considered conclusive, as trials have been done primarily on small animals. However, while limited human studies require more time to chart the longterm effects of exposure to BPA, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Reassuringly, Singapore authorities have already banned the use of BPA in all infant feeding bottles sold here. However, BPA can still be found in many other common storage containers, especially shiny plastic ones, and in most food cans.

In response to growing concerns over BPA, plastics manufacturers have developed substitutes such as BPS, or bisphenol S. Though once thought to be safe, they appear to act in a similar fashion to BPA and may pose similar risks.

To totally eliminate the risks associated with BPA and BPA substitutes, you should ideally eliminate plastics and aluminium cans from your life. However, practically speaking, that may not be possible.

Here are some fairly easy-to-follow precautions:

  • If possible, exclusively breastfeed your baby for at least six months to one year
  • Store expressed milk in glass bottles and transfer it to a BPA-free plastic bottle just before baby drinks it
  • When baby is weaned, use glass bottles, stainless steel vessels, BPA-free disposable bottle liners or at the very least, BPA-free bottles
  • Never place plastic containers in the microwave or dishwasher, since heat can cause them to leach BPA (or BPA substitutes)
  • Limit your intake of canned, processed food and eat as much fresh food as possible
  • Buy teething rings, pacifiers and toys made from natural non-toxic materials such as natural rubber, wood, bamboo and organic cotton

In general, plastic in any form is not fantastic – not for baby, mum, dad, the whole family or the planet. Have a BPA-free, worry-free life!


This article is taken from our My Alvernia Magazine Issue #38. Click here to read the issue on our website or on Magzter.