The journey toward nontoxic living is akin to standing in the hub of a 10 speed bicycle wheel. Each degree we turn we see yet another path, another topic, and another area to learn about, sometimes leaving our minds spinning just as fast as that wheel. No more. We are taking this on together, at a nice pace.
The purpose of the Savvy Path is to take a step down one path, one topic a month. We’ll learn what we can, figure out what we need to know, and who we need to support our growth. (It’s our own getting Savvy version of 99 Bottles of Toxins on the list…“Take one down, pass it around, 98 toxins left on the list…”)
For our inaugural, themed month (sound the trumpets) we introduce you to the ubiquitous, Bisphenol A, a.k.a. BPA.
The Bus Stop Version: A Short Summary
- BPA has been around for a long time – first created in 1891. In the early 1900s, synthetic estrogen properties were identified in the compound. This means when BPA enters our bodies, it can behave as an additional estrogen. Additional or identical estrogens can interact with the beautiful functions of our bodies and during critical development of our children.
- During our generation BPA found a new functional purpose in household products as a polycarbonate plastic. Now, an estimated 5-6 billion pounds of polycarbonate plastic (under the umbrella recycle code #7) is produced worldwide a year, and exists in products we use everyday.
- Unfortunately, BPA doesn’t stay put in those products, but decays and can release into the substances around it and our food. We can even monitor the BPA that shows up in our bodies. Yet, studies show with just three days without BPA in food packaging, there are reduced concentrations of up to 67% (Three days, heck we are bringing on a lifestyle adjustment. What are we waiting for?!)
Now where do you want to go? Turn to this Savvy Mugshot for a deeper introduction to BPA, or skip directly to ‘what can I do’ below:
What Can I Do?
Your three budget-friendly challenges for this month. This is what we are here for, right? Let's do this!
- Do not use plastic in the microwave. Microwaving destabilizes plastic and can leak BPA into your food. Teach the family as well.
- Each time you grocery shop this month, choose frozen fruits and veggies over your canned foods whenever you can. Check this out: Here are 31 brands not lined with BPA-laden epoxy.
- Try not to accept thermal store receipts which can be coated with BPA.
Peruse more ideas and tips here from BPA-free school fundraising ideas to GNO ideas for this summer :
If I Had Only Known. My Lesson To Share.
I have been on this BPA roller coaster for years. My first changes was when I shifted from using brown paper bags, filled with mini disposable snack baggies purchased with coupons, to BPA-free plastic containers. This was ten years ago. I was a new-to-school mama packing super foods and sweet notes and pretty proud of my little change.
This was definitely a habit shift. This busy mom had to accept the reality of washing containers daily but realized I was actually saving money by shifting from use-once and throw-away lifestyle.
After a few years I noticed a frustrating pattern. Every September I was out shopping for the three new sets of colored BPA–free containers. (Blue, green and purple for the kiddos.) Turns out each year, the previous set would have cracked lids and edges. Over time the plastic became brittle and cracked easily.
My smart ‘investment’ was not so smart if I had to repeatedly invest.
It was my frugal mind that prevented me from going stainless steel in the first place. I know this now. There are probably several online shopping carts that still exist with my orders on cyber-pause. I couldn’t bear hitting “enter” due to the expense. If I had only known then what I know now, I would have built up a collection of stainless steel containers from day one. They last. They don’t become brittle and they don’t break. (Amazon has the widest selection with a variety of prices.)
As kids grew, so did their appetites. I added larger sandwich sizes and hot soup containers. My biggest challenge? Somehow teens seem to misplace lunch sacks more often than third graders. Next September I am bringing out the Sharpie and writing MARSH on every piece of that pretty stainless steel collection of mine.
Stay strong. Stay smart. Super foods, sweet notes and stainless steel containers. All good investments.
~ Kristi Marsh
The Savvy Path blog takes on one topic a month, from many different angles. Subscribe to the Savvy Path and recieve Savvy's 20 Budget-Friendly Tips Email Series.