As a mother who cannot breastfeed, I’m wondering about the effects of bisphenol-A (BPA) in canned baby formula.
Heidi, Edmonton

Bisphenol-A or BPA is a human health concern because of its ability to mimic estrogen. It’s an industrial chemical used primarily in polycarbonate plastic. You might remember in 2008 when the federal government banned BPA from plastic baby bottles. But BPA is also in the epoxy resins lining our canned goods, and it becomes hazardous to our health because it refuses to stay put and migrates into food, baby formula among them.

So, in addition to replacing your plastic baby bottles with BPA-free plastic or glass, choose powdered baby formula. Canadian tests show no BPA leaching into powdered formula, which is good news for moms. Or, look for liquid formula sold in glass or BPA-free plastic.

There is good news for all Canadians when it comes to concerns about this hormone-disrupting chemical. This fall, Canada secured a world first – a formal designation of BPA as “toxic.” This means our government now has a stronger authority to ban BPA in consumer products.

In the meantime, we should all buy fewer canned foods. According to Statistics Canada, more than 90 per cent of Canadians have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. Choosing alternative packaging like glass jars or buying fresh, frozen or dried fruits and veggies will reduce your exposure. Dried beans, for example, have great flavour and texture (once soaked and cooked of course), and you can control the salt and sugar content.


Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to queenofgreen@metronews.ca. For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at davidsuzuki.org.

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