Takeout food, leftovers, and other storage containers come in handy for keeping all kinds of food fresh. But what you’re using could contain the most toxic thing in your fridge — bisphenol A.
The chemical is more commonly known as BPA. Manufacturing companies began using it to create plastic back in the 1960s. But it’s still used in many plastic materials today. Many of these are food industry favorites like water bottles, Tupperware, and other plastic. It also can be used to “coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines,” says the Mayo Clinic.
When food comes into contact with the plastic, metal, or another material, there is a chance that it picks up some BPA. While the FDA reviews food before it is put into stores and online, they say a small amount is safe for consumption. (Related: 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.)
Yet, in 2012 and 2013 the FDA amended regulations regarding BPA-based polycarbonate resins in certain plastic products. These included baby bottles, sippy cups, formula, and other baby food containers. They didn’t do it because of safety, though.
The amendments were enacted because “that use has been permanently and completely abandoned,” the FDA says. BPA exposure in unborn babies, infants, and children can affect the prostate gland and the brain says the Mayo Clinic. However, research says that there could be a link between BPA and a rise in blood pressure in adults.
Doctors at Harvard suggest that you should be cautious about BPA consumption by using less canned food and opting for fresh produce. Another tip is to buy BPA-free items like water bottles and containers. Avoid putting plastics in the microwave or dishwasher, “because the heat may break them down over time and allow BPA to leach into foods,” the Mayo Clinic says. Finally, there are other materials that don’t contain the most toxic thing in your fridge. Glass, stainless steel, and porcelain are great alternatives.
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