It’s tea time. The food you’ve cooked may be wholesome, but is it really healthy for your child?
Every day, we’re exposed to a multitude of chemicals. They’re in most of our products – from our make-up, personal care and cleaning products right through to food and drink packaging. The safety of some of these chemicals is hotly disputed. Whilst the Government insists they’re safe in low doses, many scientists think they’re a hidden factor behind escalating rates of breast cancer.
Our charity, Breast Cancer
to prevent breast cancer by reducing our exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer
or disrupt our hormones. One such chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), is used
in a wide range of food and drink packaging from microwave ovenware and storage
containers to water coolers and milk bottles.
It’s used to make plastic tableware and cutlery - popular for toddlers
and young children - and the 'epoxy resins' which line tin cans such as those
used for baked beans, soup and tomatoes, fizzy and alcoholic drinks. UK
Scientific studies have shown that BPA can leach out of products, especially when they’re heated or damaged during dishwashing, and is getting into our food and drink. BPA mimics oestrogen, which is known to affect the development of mammary glands and has been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer.
Unborn children, babies and young children are particularly susceptible to early exposure to BPA so in 2010, we started by campaigning for BPA-free babies’ bottles – and we won! The use of BPA in babies’ bottles was banned across the EU last year. Yet BPA is still routinely used in other products.
October is breast cancer awareness month, but BCUK is often surprised by how much focus there is on lifestyle choices and how little awareness there is about the environmental and chemical causes of breast cancer.
To help us change this, we’re asking our supporters to email their local MP asking them to call for a ban on BPA in all food and drinks materials and for hazardous chemicals to be included as a risk factor in the UK’s Strategy for Cancer and NHS Cancer Plan. For more information and help on how to do this visit http://www.nomorebpa.org.uk/takeaction/index.php.
What can you do to limit your child’s exposure to BPA?
- Find alternatives to tinned foods. One study found that families who eliminated canned food from their diet for just three days reduced the concentration of BPA in their body by over 60%. Many tinned foods such as fruit, soups, sauces and tomatoes can be found in different packaging such as glass.
- Look for BPA-free tins. Some whole food or organic food stores may stock BPA-free tinned food. Never store left-over food in tins. Empty into a non-plastic container and keep in the fridge.
- Discard old plastic plates, beakers, cups and cutlery, especially those that are scratched or have been through the dishwasher or microwave a number of times. Replace plastic lunch boxes, food storage containers and drinks bottles with BPA-free versions. Some products are not labelled but in case they are, avoid numbers 3 and 7.
- Avoid putting PVC or polycarbobonate plastics in the microwave. The heat will increase the likelihood of BPA or other chemicals leaching out into the food. Decant the food into a non-plastic, microwave safe container.
- Ask retailers what BPA-free products they have in store.
For further information visit www.breastcanceruk.org.uk