BPA is a synonym for bisphenol-a, a substance that is added to polycarbonate plastics. It is common in unbreakable, hard, clear and clear tinted plastics. This substance has been used to manufacture plastics since the early 1960s. It was a common additive to drinking glasses, food storage containers and take away containers such as baby bottles, water bottles and sippy cups, among others.
Research showed that BPA might leak at high temperatures or in some conditions. Although low levels of BPA are said to be safe, with time, the substance may accumulate in the body and cause cancers, high blood pressure, allergies, damage to the foetus, increased acidity and heart problems, among many other problems. Here are ways to check if the plastic you are using is BPA free.
Use of Labels
Look at the base of the plastic container for the recycling number. If the number is 07, it may or may not contain BPA. However, codes 1, 2, 4, and 5 are BPA-free and, therefore safe for use. For number 7, look at other characteristics explained below. Since the law does not make it compulsory for manufacturers to include recycling numbers, you may need to check other factors below.
In the line, avoid items that are labelled PC. They are polycarbonates and contain BPA. The same is true for all plastics that are labelled dishwasher safe, microwave safe, or unbreakable with a label telling you that they are BPA-free. For items like toys, you may find the words ‘BPA-free’ on the label. This is because children may put toys into their mouths.
Any plastic that that resembles glass, is clear or tinted, is most likely a polycarbonate. Such plastics have BPA. On the other hand, flexible plastics, have a solid colour, have a rubbery feel and marked ‘not for microwave use’ are BPA-free. Such materials are usually made of melamine or polypropylene.
Look at Care Instructions
If care instructions include, handwash and top-rack dishwasher safe, the container is most likely an acrylic article. Some BPA-free items are also microwave safe. However, the differentiating factor is breakability. No other material is unbreakable without the inclusion of BPA. Again, polycarbonate items can be cleaned in a dishwasher.
Year of Manufacture
It became a common practice for manufacturers to produce BPA-free plastics after the years 2010. Therefore, most of the food items made after the date are likely to be BPA-free. Any product made before the year 2012 and does not have any indicators whether it contains BPA should not be used at all for food. However, it is still recommended that you check each of the products for BPA before making a purchase.
BPA is a common inclusion in plastics. Due to its effect on health, it is advisable that you avoid using any container with the substance. Use the above tips to check if your plastic food items have the substance. If you are still not satisfied with using plastics, you may consider using glass and aluminium for your food as they are safe.