Are “BPA-Free” Bottles Safe? Maybe Not

by Adel

Before reading, make sure to learn more about the dangers of BPA, here.

BPA-Free Prdocuts Are Everywhere! But the Dangers Remain

All over store, products are marked with the feel-good tag of “BPA-Free”, but are BPA-Free bottles safe? Companies have realized that consumers are weary of BPA, and with good reason. Hundreds of studies have now shown how dangerous BPA can be to both people and animals. So lots of companies have moved to make their products from other materials, but are they really any safer?

Much like, lead being added to paint in the past; there is a reason BPA was used to make plastic bottles and containers. So, when one chemical goes, another must take its place. These replacements may not always be much better though, unfortunately.

What is being used instead of BPA? 

BPS and BPF (Bisphenol-S, Bisphenol-F) are two of the main chemicals taking the place of BPA (Bisphenol-A). If BPS and BPF sound oddly similar to BPA, that is because they are.  All these chemicals are bisphenols, which is a large group of chemicals with similar properties. The degree of potential harm caused by other bisphenols is not well known. BPA is so commonly used that it pushes scientists to publish research about its adverse effects. The available research does not bode well for these alternative additives though.

are "bpa-free" bottles safe? maybe not

Damage to the Brain

A new published study in Communications Biology compared the effects of BPA and BPS on a vertebrae’s brain and found that they have similar negative effects. The study examined the effects of the chemicals on fish after 1 month of exposure. The researchers analyzed a specific neuron that can be found in many vertebrae. The study found that both chemicals had negative effects on the visual and acoustic processing abilities of the fish.

Reporductive Issues

One of the biggest dangers of BPA is its effect on Estrogen in the body, which can cause problems with the reproductive systems of women as well as a host of other issues. One study compared the effects of BPA, BPS, and BPF and found that because of “[BPS and BPF] may pose similar potential health hazards as BPA”. The study does also mention that more research is needed to really know the full effect of these chemicals.

are bpa-free bottles safe

Estrogen Activity in “BPA-Free” Consumer Products

group of researchers sought to determine if most consumer products, even those that are BPA-free still released estrogenic activity (EA). The answer was an astounding YES. They concluded that even though the plastic products were BPA-free, that did not mean they were EA-free. In fact some of the BPA-free products they tested released even more EA than their BPA containing counterparts. Troublingly, this was even the case in baby bottles, where the effects of EA can be especially strong. The study also found that putting the products under stress (heat, microwave radiation, UV radiation) caused them to release EA at a much higher rate.

Considering that stopping EA is one of the main reasons people chose to leave BPA, it is very concerning that the alternative plasticizers have similar effects as BPA.

Are BPA-Free Bottles Safe?

Ultimately it seems many companies are taking the easy route out of the dangerous BPA. Most companies now know that trying to sell bottles and other products made with BPA will mean less sales, so naturally they moved to other materials to make sure their bottom line is not hit. The problem though, is that companies are not too concerned about whether or not these other chemicals are safer, just so long as the consumer thinks they are. It is incumbent upon each consumer to make sure that the products they use for themselves and their children are as safe as possible.

Until there is more oversight over the plastic industry, the question will remain open. Are BPA-Free bottles safe? No one can say for sure.

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