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Claire Moshenberg's picture

According to magazines and TV commercials, I will be spending the next three months in a swimsuit. To someone who has worked full time every summer since I was fourteen, and had the Bay Area pleasure of having a sultry summer day cap out around 65 degrees, I say hooray! (Although I’m still not sure what my boss will think, or how the economy will function once all us women go fulfill our apparent non-stop-swimsuit-destinies...)

Swimsuit season is apparantly so important that I'm supposed to immediately drop everything I’m doing and start losing weight in five pound increments. And there are a million diets of varying degrees of vivid-pizza-fantasies-hunger to get me ready for the upcoming three months, when the mysterious-powers-that-be will take away all of my clothes and I will have to spend the summer in a swimsuit accessorized with big shoes, or giant necklaces, or a tiger. (That’s how this works, right?)

Unlike commercials, or magazine covers, I have no idea how you should go about starting a swimsuit season diet. I hear it involves food. Anyway, I think you look great. What I do know is that there is a new diet in town, one that will do something even more exciting than whittle your waistline: it will drastically reduce your Bisphenol A (BPA) levels.

Recently, the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute released a study which tested the levels of the toxic chemical BPA for five families. Like many average families across America, these families were regularly exposed to BPA in their day to day lives through pretty normal activities: eating canned foods and beverages, eating in restaurants, using polycarbonate water bottles, and/or microwaving in plastic.

To see if their BPA levels could be lowered, these families were given a fresh food intervention: three days’ worth of freshly prepared organic meals, no canned food, and using only glass storage containers. The results were astounding: When the families took BPA out of their diets, they decreased the amount of BPA in their bodies by 60 percent on average in just three days![1]

Instead of getting swept up in swimsuit mania, lets try a diet that counts and lower our BPA levels. Laboratory studies link BPA exposure to breast cancer, infertility, early onset puberty, ADHD, and obesity. And children, whose brains and organs are constantly developing, are particularly at risk and are exposed to more BPA for their size than adults. [2]

Here are five easy tips you can use to lower your BPA levels!

Be canny about cans: Be smart about your canned food consumption. Print up this handy card from the Breast Cancer Fund the next time you go grocery shopping; it outlines the top ten canned foods to avoid.

“Waiter, I’ll have the soup. Hold the BPA”: If only we could order our meals BPA-free at restaurants! Even if you keep canned foods out of your kitchen, most restaurants use at least some canned ingredients. Eating out less is an effective, and cost effective, tip when it comes to lowering BPA levels.

Keep your microwave plastic-free: It can be hard to make your life more BPA-free, but one easy way to lower BPA levels is to stop microwaving plastic containers. Eating a frozen meal? Scoop the food out of the built in container. No one said you had to stick with their plastic packaging instead of a (non-plastic) plate.

Del Monte, will you be my diet buddy?: Lets ask the largest canned foods manufacturers to go on a BPA-free diet with us! Tell major food manufacturers Campbells, DelMonte, and Progresso that we want BPA out of our food and packaging. Women make the majority of purchasing decisions, so when we bring our voices together to contact corporations, we can have a powerful impact.

Transparency, it's more than see-through-soup: We need more than a promise to lose the BPA; we need transparency. Like all moms, we're worried about the health and safety of our families. And like all moms, we're busy. Lets make sure that when these companies remove BPA from their canned goods, they aren't wasting time by replacing BPA with another toxic chemical. We're asking Delmonte, Campbells, and Progresso to take BPA out of their foods, and to also be transparent about their next steps for replacing BPA.

[1] BPA in Food Packaging Study

[2] The Breast Cancer Fund BPA information and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families BPA Resources

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