Back to school time brings up thoughts and worries about ABC’s, 123’s, and BPA’s. While the kids are concerned with settling back into a new school year, meeting new teachers, and are looking forward to shiny new school supplies; parents have other concerns, often of the environmental health and safety variety. BPA’s have made big news in recent years as researchers and environmental groups report risks associated with the common plastic product component. Luckily, BPA’s, or Bisphenol A’s, are one of the easier chemical hazards to limit in your child’s school day. How can you limit the BPA present in your child’s school day and school supplies?
Make it a BPA limited lunch. The use of canned vegetables and other canned food products is a large source of BPA exposure in school cafeterias and commercial food services as well as in home kitchens. Skipping the school cafeteria lets parents control not only potential chemical exposures from food packaging–but other health risks, such as sodium and fat content of the convenience type foods served in schools as well.
Choose BPA free supplies. A simple search engine query yields hundreds, if not thousands, of products proclaiming BPA free status. From lunchboxes and food storage containers to helmets and sport related protective equipment, industry has stepped up to meet consumer demand for BPA free products. BPA free lunch gear, such as food and drink storage containers, and backpacks are easy to find and use as replacements for BPA containing products. It is important to note that BPA is not the only chemical “nasty” that commercial products hold, so parents should research product substitutes for other problems, such as lead or PVC’s before accepting them as safer alternatives.
Remember that extracurricular activities offer extra opportunities for BPA exposure. Back to school means back to sports, back to clubs and back to a number of extracurricular, after school activities. After school activities often come with after school snacks, drinks, or a different set of BPA containing gear. Packing parent-approved snacks, BPA free water bottles, and researching the potential BPA risk of helmets or similar protective equipment are a large part of making after school activities as BPA free as possible.
Remember, both at home and in the classroom, BPA is not the only potentially dangerous chemical exposure that students face during the school year. Parents should research the potential risks of alternatives thoroughly before buying into product hype and claims to avoid substituting an even riskier product in the name of BPA freedom.
Tips to Avoid BPA Exposure
How to reduce BPA levels by 60 percent in 3 days