Use glass containers rather than plastic for fertility, hormonal, and overall health!
Let me first tell you how to reduce your exposure and then if you want more science, you can read on and make an even more informed decision. I have further cited several peer reviewed studies at the end.
Eliminate plastics from contact with your food as much as you possibly can- while BPA has been removed from most products for babies and children, it has not from many other kitchen products and tools. Even if a plastic product says BPA free, can we be sure that there are not other chemicals that are not potentially harmful leaching in to our systems?
Switch to glass, ceramic, wood and stainless items that will come in contact with what you are eating and drinking.
Avoid using plastic with the number 7 symbol on it- this indicates BPA containing Polycarbonate.
Especially avoid using plastic that has been in contact with heat from washing, detergents, run through the dishwasher and has been microwaved- this can increase rates of leaching of BPA’s into foods in contact with the plastic. If you have to use plastic containers, be sure to wash them in cool water and never use them with hot foods/drinks.
Avoid the little coffee pods and the coffee makers that they go along with unless the inside of the machine is plastic free and so are the pods. It takes only a few minutes of googling to find a coffee maker that is plastic free. Worried about convenience? Coffee in a French press or a Chemex glass drip takes just about the same amount of time to brew. Furthermore, mold, bacterial biofilms, and bacteria have been detected in the containers of plastic coffee makers.. yuck!
Avoid canned food that does not say BPA free on the label. Many cans are lined with BPA’s and this can leach right into the food within. (See studies in the resources section demonstrating high levels of BPA measured in subjects who ate canned soup for just 5 days)
Seriously limit the amount of take-out food that is packaged in plastic and commit to packing your meals from home as much as you can. Not only can the containers leach hormone disrupting chemicals into your food, restaurants may use canned food that contains BPA’s as well in preparation of the food.
Handle paper receipts as little as possible. Astonishingly, thermal paper on store receipts is often coated with BPA’s. Have your receipt emailed or snap a quick photo of it if you need it for tax purposes and wash your hands after handling it.
My goal is not to make you afraid or obsessed with avoiding BPA’s, I want you to be informed and limit exposure when you can. I know these steps sound like a bunch of work in the beginning, but when we know more and have plenty of science behind what we know, it makes sense to make small changes that can improve our health and fertility. Over time these healthy habits will become second nature, and when you do have your baby you can be sure that you will be teaching them good habits to improve their health as well. Make sure when you do get pregnant that you maintain these habits to limit exposure for your developing baby.
Plenty of current research indicates that even small amounts of exposure to BPA can do damage to developing eggs, is correlated with higher rates of miscarriage, and interferes with IVF success rates.
Many studies clearly demonstrate the toxic effects of BPA’s, linking exposure to diabetes and heart disease. Most disturbing for fertility, exposure has been found to have a damaging effect on the endocrine system as they are particularly disruptive to thyroid hormones, estrogen, insulin and testosterone. We NEED these to be in balance for optimal fertility and hundreds of other functions!
The following are a few more fertility reasons to avoid exposure:
Studies demonstrate a positive link between the outcomes of IVF and BPA levels. BPA’s have been linked to fewer eggs at the time of retrieval in one study. In an additional study, eggs that were retrieved from women with higher BPA levels were less inclined to become fertilized, indicating poor egg quality as a correlation. Both of these studies were then confirmed by another Harvard School of Public Health study that went on to show that women who had higher levels of BPA’s on their systems had lower embryo implantation rates as well. Further, studies show that BPA can reduce estrogen production in the ovaries which is absolutely crucial in egg development and communication with the hypothalamus and pituitary.
More studies demonstrate BPA disrupts insulin secreting cells in the pancreas. These findings indicate a positive correlation between BPA levels and PCOS along with insulin resistance. As we know, women with PCOS have higher rates of difficulty achieving and maintaining pregnancy.
A National Institute of health study shows higher urine BPA levels in women with endometriosis as well, which can pose as an additional fertility challenge.
There are few studies that demonstrate correlation between increase in miscarriage rates and BPA’s, but the studies that have been done show correlation, and with the knowledge from the IVF studies, we know that egg quality is affected which can lead to miscarriage.
Why is this stuff in our products?? Good question. Do some research on how long it took (decades!) for things like asbestos and lead to be removed from common products when we had clear and concise research on their damaging effects. We need to rely on peer reviewed scientific evidence and our own diligence to protect ourselves and others, rather than waiting around for protection from agencies that are either overwhelmed with other issues or not willing to accept scientific facts.
Here are my references, read these studies to see the actual results associated with BPA’s, fertility and overall health.
As always, send me your questions, I am more than happy to elaborate.
Can, A., Semiz, O., & Cinar, O. (2005). Bisphenol-A induces cell cycle delay and alters centrosome and spindle microtubular organization in oocytes during meiosis. MHR: Basic Science of Reproductive Medicine, 11(6), 389-396. doi:10.1093/molehr/gah179
Ehrlich, S., Williams, P. L., Missmer, S. A., Flaws, J. A., Ye, X., Calafat, A. M., . . . Hauser, R. (2012). Urinary bisphenol A concentrations and early reproductive health outcomes among women undergoing IVF. Human Reproduction, 27(12), 3583-3592. doi:10.1093/humrep/des328
Lamb, J., Bloom, M., Saal, F. V., Taylor, J., Sandler, J., & Fujimoto, V. (2008). Serum Bisphenol A (BPA) and reproductive outcomes in couples undergoing IVF. Fertility and Sterility, 90. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.07.751
Lathi, R., Liebert, C., Brookfeild, K., Fujimoto, V., Vomsaal, F., & Baker, V. (2013). Maternal serum biphenol-A (BPA) level is positively associated with miscarriage risk. Fertility and Sterility, 100(3). doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.07.183
Melzer, D., Rice, N. E., Lewis, C., Henley, W. E., & Galloway, T. S. (2010). Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration with Heart Disease: Evidence from NHANES 2003/06. PLoS ONE, 5(1). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008673
Sugiura-Ogasawara, M., Ozaki, Y., Sonta, S., Makino, T., & Suzumori, K. (2005). Exposure to bisphenol A is associated with recurrent miscarriage. Human Reproduction, 20(8), 2325-2329. doi:10.1093/humrep/deh888
Upson K, Sathyanarayana S, De Roos AJ, Koch HM, Scholes D, Holt VL. 2014. A population-based case-control study of urinary bisphenol A concentrations and risk of endometriosis. Hum Reprod; doi: 10.1093/humrep/deu227 [Online 9 September 2014].
Wozniak, A. L., Bulayeva, N. N., & Watson, C. S. (2005). Xenoestrogens at Picomolar to Nanomolar Concentrations Trigger Membrane Estrogen Receptor-α–Mediated Ca2 Fluxes and Prolactin Release in GH3/B6 Pituitary Tumor Cells. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(4), 431-439. doi:10.1289/ehp.7505
Xu, J., Osuga, Y., Yano, T., Morita, Y., Tang, X., Fujiwara, T., . . . Tsutsumi, O. (2002). Bisphenol A Induces Apoptosis and G2-to-M Arrest of Ovarian Granulosa Cells. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 292(2), 456-462. doi:10.1006/bbrc.2002.6644
Yamada, H., Furuta, I., Kato, E. H., Kataoka, S., Usuki, Y., Kobashi, G., . . . Fujimoto, S. (2002). Maternal serum and amniotic fluid bisphenol A concentrations in the early second trimester. Reproductive Toxicology, 16(6), 735-739. doi:10.1016/s0890-6238(02)00051-5