Why “BPA-free” plastic isn’t necessarily a safer choice

I think we can all agree that BPA (bisphenol A) needed to be banned.

But while you’ll no longer find this toxic chemical in baby bottles or sippy cups, trust me, you’re still exposed to it on a daily basis. Plastic bottles, the lining of food cans, paper receipts… these are just a few of the most common places you can encounter significant doses of BPA every day.

BPA is carcinogenic. It’s also endocrine-disrupting — mimicking estrogen and wreaking havoc on hormones. And this makes it a smoking gun for anything from breast and prostate cancer to obesity.

The evidence against BPA has been mounting for years. As of 2014, there were close to 100 studies revealing its harmful effects. And thankfully, for once, these concerns didn’t fall on deaf ears.

As I just mentioned, baby products have been universally transitioned to BPA-free versions, by order of the FDA. But awareness of BPA dangers has expanded to adult markets, as well. And now there’s a whole range of “BPA-free” plastic products available.

In essence, BPA has emerged as the “trans fat” of the plastic world. The government took longer than it should have to condemn it. And manufacturers had plenty of time to stay ahead of consumer demand and come up with a replacement chemical in the meantime.

That replacement chemical is called “bisphenol S” (BPS). Unfortunately, it’s turning out to be just as bad for you.

I’ll do my best to contain my “shock” long enough to explain what the latest research has found…

A new study appearing in the journal Endocrinology shows that BPS encourages fat cell formation. (It’s like déjà vu.)

Researchers used cells taken from female subjects’ hips, thighs, and abdomen. Unsurprisingly, they found that exposure to very large, moderate, and very small BPS concentrations triggered significant fat cell accumulations.

Chemically, bisphenol S is slightly different in structure than BPA. So technically, companies using it can boast “BPA-free” on their product labels. Nevertheless, it’s clear that BPS is at least as dangerous as its predecessor when it comes to disrupting your hormones. And even small changes in this arena can lead to very big consequences for your metabolism.

So everyone choosing “BPA-free” products in the hopes of staying healthier? Well, it looks like we’ve been duped. Again.

Sadly, there’s a lot of money to be made using this kind of deception.

But the worst part is, it will probably be another decade (or longer) before the hammer comes down on BPS — assuming it ever does. That’s just how these things go.

So I consider it my moral and professional duty to share news like this as soon as I hear it. And to give you this small-but-crucial bit of advice: Don’t eat or drink out of plastic — ever.

I don’t.

I never, ever consume food or beverages out of anything plastic. In fact, I won’t use plastic for anything if I can help it.

Stainless steel and glass containers are the most widely available options for food and beverage storage. They may be heavier and more expensive. But if you ask me, those tradeoffs are worth it when your health is at stake.