DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – 15-month old Leyna Krause is like most kids her age – everything she picks up goes into her mouth. That’s why her mom, Jill, made a decision to only give Leyna the safest toys and food.
“I don’t believe putting my children in a bubble,” Krause said. “There’s only so much you can do, but what you can do is make the choices responsibly based on the information you have.”
The Krause family made a choice to only buy products that are BPA free.
“It’s toxic, and I don’t think anybody should have a choice to have something toxic,” Krause said.
BPA – or Bisphenol A – is a chemical compound manufacturers use to help harden plastic. It’s used in bottles, some canned goods, and even eyeglasses. But recent studies have shown that BPA can seep into foods through the container, leading to growing concern over the effects of BPA exposure.
“We do know that 96% of the population has detectable BPA levels,” said Dr. Carolyn Matthews, Director of Integrative Medicine at Baylor Medical Center. She says BPA exposure can lead to significant health problems.
“We know that girls who are born to mothers with high BPA levels have increased risk of hyperactivity and ADD,” she said. In addition to pregnant women, Dr. Matthews says children nearing puberty should also stay away from the chemical. Over-exposure could lead to other behavioral issues and even reproductive problems.
“Right now it’s called a ‘chemical of concern,'” Dr. Matthews said of the FDA’s action regarding BPA thus far. “They have not come out with a statement that we should avoid it until it’s proven safe.”
The FDA is under growing pressure to ban the chemical. Two weeks ago, Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey sent three petitions to the FDA urging it to ban BPA in baby and toddler food packaging, reusable food and beverage containers, and inside canned food packaging.
Congressman Markey’s office surveyed a number of companies about their use of BPA. Nestle – which makes Gerber products – says all the packaging for its baby and toddler foods are now BPA free. But, other companies which make canned food products are still using it.
Del Monte foods told the Congressman they are “working closely with can manufacturers to explore BPA free alternatives.” Campbells has “already started using alternatives in its soup packaging, and is working to phase out the use of BPA in all of its products.” Hormel Foods said it has not “qualified any alternative coatings that are 100% BPA free.”
Dr. Matthews says she doesn’t think the United States government has done enough to regulate BPA. “I would like to see it banned and in lieu of that, I think individuals should make every effort to limit exposure as much as possible,” she said. And, that’s something the Krause family is already doing in their home.
“I absolutely think it should be completely banned,” Jill Krause said.
The FDA is expected to make an announcement regarding its decision on the future of BPA within the next few days.