Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BPA Contaminants Found in Most Canadians

The results of a survey by Statistics Canada measuring the levels of various contaminants in the urine and blood of Canadians aged six to 79 was released on August 116, 2010. Somewhat not surprising at least to me is they found  91% of Canadians have detectable bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA is a chemical used to make some hard plastics such as baby bottles and reusable water bottles.  I became quite concerned about the BPA issue about 4 years ago.

BPA may imitate estrogen and other hormones according to the National Institutes of Health (Maryland, USA)1.  This chemical has been shown under laboratory conditions to affect brain development and behaviour.  BPA is excreted quickly but does have an effect before it is excreted.  Reducing exposure to this chemical something that Health Canada intends to do making Canada the first country in the world to do so. 

What a lot of Canadian may not know is that every food and beverage container in North American has a mandatory plastic coating that contains BPA. BPA can leach from the plastic when exposed to heat and acidic condition both of which occur in the commercial canning industry. Every time you open a can of food or drink a can of soda or even a glass jar with metal lid of applesauce you are ingesting BPA.  Those who rely on a good portion of home canned foods as we do are still exposed to BPA but on a much lower level through the coating on the canning lid which is why I am currently testing out the Tattler canning lids that are both reusable and BPA-free.  The study did not distinguish how much BPA exposure comes from handling polycarbonate plastic devices (eg. CDs, cellphones, electronics, etc)  but if the BPA leaches from the device to the hands then in theory it can get ingested.  I find this type of thing very scary!

As Canadians we can reduce our exposure to BPA by reducing the amount of polycarbonate plastics we use.  Over the past 4 years I have reduced a lot of the plastic use in our home but at the same time a certain amount of plastic in unavoidable.  My glass food storage bowls came with plastic lids although they are BPA free.  Plastic is everywhere anymore because it is cheap, lightweight and the risk of breakage is minimal.    When buying any type of plastic that will come into contact with food make sure it is BPA free.  Reusable plastic waterbottles should be hand washed to avoid any leaching that can occur in the dishwasher.  Plastics should not be used in the microwave oven.  Hot foods should not be placed into plastic containers to cool for storage.  Use glass containers for food storage.  Reduce the amount of ingestible BPA by home canning, using frozen fruits or vegetables, and eliminating food and drinks in metal can.  Buy local, fresh produce in season and grow whatever you can. 


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