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  • Writer's pictureIsobel Austin-Little


What is BPA and why is it problematic for fertility?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is added to many commercial products, including food containers and hygiene products. It is known as an "endocrine-disruptor" because it has the ability to interfere with hormones, their production and function, such as estrogen, as well as testosterone and thyroid hormones.

Common products that may contain BPA include:

  • Items packaged in plastic containers

  • Canned foods

  • Toiletries

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • Thermal printer receipts

  • CDs and DVDs

  • Household electronics

  • Eyeglass lenses

  • Sports equipment

  • Dental filling sealants

As well as playing havoc on hormone health, BPA's can cause chromosomal abnormalities which can result in miscarriage. There has also been a bulk of research around BPA and IVF, highlighting an association between high BPA levels and low IVF success rates.

So if you are trying to conceive or preparing for assisted reproductive technology such as IVF, then now is the time to start making some simple swaps. Totally avoiding BPA is not possible but consciously reducing your exposure to them and lowering the amount in your system is definitely doable.

Here are my top 4 tips to get you started.

  1. Reuse glass jars. Wherever possible, purchase food in glass rather than tin cans or plastic, then reuse them for storing food. Tomato passata, chickpeas, albacore tuna, there are so many brands such as biona organic providing plastic alternatives.

  2. Avoid drinking from a plastic water bottle and drink from either a glass or stainless steel water bottle. Plastics can easily get damaged from heat or wear and tear, this increases the chances of BPA leaching into the water.

  3. Wash your hands after dealing with receipts. If you don't need to keep hold of your receipt, don't take it with you.

  4. Avoid heating plastics. This includes microwaving food in plastic packaging. The best way to avoid this is to prioritise preparing your food at home and if you take it to work with you, avoid heating it in plastic

  5. Purchase dry beans and legumes, soak them overnight and cook them. They go much further that way too!

If you are wondering whether a product contains BPA, BPS, or BPF, have a look for their recycling number which will include 3 and 7 or the letters “PC”.

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