Plastic & BPA

The BPA scare started several years after Nalgene brand water bottles started getting really popular. People were putting them in the dishwasher despite use and care instructions stating NOT to do that, and then you started hearing the stories about BPA leaching into your water bottles. Bisphenol A, BPA, is a synthetic compound added to some plastics.

The BPA scare actually started before that, but not as many folks listened, and still don’t today, which I find kind of humorous. We’re so scared about the plastic that we’re buying to store our food in that we’re not thinking about the plastic water bottles we purchase in the grocery store. The first scare came from studies showing that refilling these cheap plastic bottles is leaching BPAs into our bodies.

Store-bought plastic water bottle–don’t refill it!

Once the anti-BPA craze took off, to really scare you they of course had to look at baby bottles. Same as with the Nalgene bottles, plastic baby bottles are generally not dishwasher safe. Top that with the fact that a lot of serious moms are using the “sanitize” mode on said dishwasher, which is the hottest, harshest temperatures your dishwasher can reach, and you’ve got yourself some leaching!

So honestly, aside from the plastic store-bought water bottles you’re refilling, the real culprit is your dishwasher! You really don’t need to worry about BPA leaching if you’re not putting your plastic in there. But, I realize this is America and a lot of you want to use that big machine to save yourself some time, so here’s a few tips:

  • Don’t ever wash any plastics on sanitize mode; try to keep them on the top shelf if you’re going to be using anything like “pots and pans” or any other high/harsh settings.
Plastic container from packaged deli meat
  • If you’re reusing cheap plastic, like the Gladware or Rubbermaid containers that all the pre-packaged deli meat comes in these days, don’t put it in the dishwasher or microwave.
  •  Don’t reuse store-bought plastic water bottles!
  • If you really care about the sanitation level of your baby’s bottles, hand wash them! 

I know it’s more work, especially on a mom, but I personally never feel like my dishes are clean unless I or someone I know is as awesome of a dishwasher as me has hand washed the dishes. I’m a firm believer that a good amount of germs is good for you, too, so that’s why I’m not completely OCD when dining out….I’m just saying if you care that much about germs and your baby, you should be hand-washing those bottles, not putting them through extreme heat treatment in some machine! If not, definitely look for dishwasher safe bottles; it’s a lot easier to find glass ones these days, too. This Consumer Reports article also recommends hand-washing bottles even if the label says it’s dishwasher safe.

Most plastic products have actually always been BPA-free, they just have to start printing it on their labels now. Don’t assume that just because the label isn’t screaming “BPA Free!” at you that it’s not—check with the manufacturer first. Tupperware is one of my favorites because it’s the original plastic food storage, and it’s always been BPA-free! Remember that stores/manufacturers have to sell out of the old packaging before you’ll start seeing it printed on the label.

Tupperware brand has always been BPA free and made in the USA!

I searched all around and I think it’s been too many years, but I recall reading an article about a woman who was very passionately anti-plastic in any way, shape or form. And then her son got really sick and almost died, and looking around the hospital room she realized that without plastic he never would have made it through his ordeal, changing her entire outlook on the subject. Pretty cool when you think about all the good plastic has done for the world.

Frigoverre is very nice glass storage

I’m obviously not a plastic hater; I do encourage smart use and care! Plastic really does store food the best, in my opinion, and anything glass you buy for storage is going to have a plastic or rubber seal or lid to try and keep it airtight. The combination isn’t as good as plastic-on-plastic, and I will take my Tupperware over the most expensive glass storage containers any day! I will say that glass storage can be awesome for freezer storage, but I don’t feel safe riding my bike with one full of soup to work! People do it, I just don’t feel like trying. Frigoverre is a great brand with a good seal.

I’m sure most of you have your crazy Tupperware cupboard, too!

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