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4. Plastics And Cancer

BPA, or bisphenol A, has been in the headlines endlessly the past couple of years, but that doesn’t mean we know what to do about it, since the news has been both alarmist and confusing.

Here’s the lowdown: BPA is a phthalate and a synthetic estrogen linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and heart disease. In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel recommended that consumers not use water bottles and other containers made with BPA and urged that the ingredient be removed from commercial production, but that has happened in only a handful of states.

Still, BPA-free bottles are now manufactured by all of the major bottle manufacturers, and BPA-free bottles are fast becoming the norm, at least where they are available. Unfortunately, BPA has been much slower to phase out in other products, such as the lining of cans. Because BPA can react with the metal of the cans, and cans are heated as they’re sterilized, canned food is “high risk” for BPA.


Another ingredient used to make plastics more pliable is diethylhexyl adipate (DEHA), which is also classified as a possible carcinogen. DEHA is in almost all plastic wraps and has properties similar to phthalates, like BPA. Unlike BPA, it has yet to be phased out of most products.

Heating plastic does make it more likely that any chemicals contained in it will be released into food, so do not microwave food in any plastic container, and don’t cover bowls and other containers with plastic wrap when heating.

Safer substitute: Look for “BPA-free” on labels. Use metal water bottles when you’re out, a filtered water pitcher when you’re home. Or get a built-in filter attachment for your faucet. Microwave food in glass or ceramic containers.

This list was written by Melanie Haiken for Caring. Photo by Andy Webb/Flickr.

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2 thoughts on “Cancer-Proof Your Home: Plastics”

  1. Very good to the point article. Questions though: What about storing food in BPA free containers. Is this safe? Also,…”Use metal water bottles when you’re out(can’t you use a plastic BPA Free Water Bottle?), a filtered water pitcher when you’re home(can’t you use a glass pitcher?) Why do you need to filter if you have good water?). Or get a built-in filter attachment for your faucet. Just wondering..Thank you in advance for your response. 🙂

  2. In addition to this I would like to recommend “contigo” water bottles, which are BPA-free and available at Whole Foods. Also, try not to use microwave at all-instead, eat fresh food! 🙂



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