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Five Simple Steps to Lower Your BPA Exposure

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Cancer related image Photo: Getty Images

Lowering the amount of BPA contamination in your body may be easier than you think, according to new research.

Bisphenol A, or BPA is a chemical used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics in a host of everyday items from shatter-proof baby bottles, beverage containers and plastic dinnerware to compact discs, auto parts and toys. BPA epoxy resins are used in the protective linings of canned foods and beverages, dental sealants and other products.

The chemical’s safety was called into question in 2008 when an expert panel convened by the National Institutes of Health agreed there was “some concern” about BPA’s effects on early human brain development.

BPA is an known endocrine disruptor, which means the chemical can mimic the body’s own hormones and may lead to negative health effects, such as breast cancer, thyroid conditions, infant brain development, early puberty in girls, infertility, and other adverse health affects. A 2010 study found that BPA may reduce sensitivity to chemotherapy treatment of specific tumors.

In 2004, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientists wanted to know how much BPA is getting into Americans' bodies so they conducted a large study and discovered widespread BPA exposure in the U.S. population: A whopping 93 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies.

According to the CDC, the human health effects from BPA at low environmental exposures are unknown. While regulatory bodies have determined a safe level of human BPA exposure, recent studies are calling those levels into question and they are currently under review.

The CDC acknowledged BPA has been shown to affect the reproductive systems of laboratory animals. In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised additional concerns regarding BPA exposure to fetuses, infants and young children. Later that year, Canada and the European Union banned BPA use in baby bottles.

The nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute, a breast cancer research group, wanted to know if the leading source of BPA contamination—food packaging—were removed, how much, if any, would our BPA levels drop.

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