Loo Break: confused when it comes to plastic containers?! How to tell if your plastic container contains BPA

The quick and dirty: all you need to know about BPA within plastic and a few tips and tricks to enable you to spot it and avoid!

BPA (bisphenol-a) is a very common plastic used as food and drink containers. The trouble is, that it is a known endocrine disruptor (click here for more) with a whole host of studies showing that BPA can mimic estrogen, binding to the same receptor in the body. This is NOT what you want if you’re trying to concieve and grow a small person, not to mention not what you want in a very little and rapidly growing body. Click here fore more.

The good news is that due to the publicity and research around the impact of BPA on hormones and development, it is now being used less. A lot of water bottles are now produced from Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and most baby bottles thankfully are now BPA free. But not all food and drink containers are.

One pushback is that BPA: ‘it is safe if it’s in small quantities’, sure, but these quantities add up and we eat and drink many times a day! In fact studies have shown that on average over 90% of the US population has traces of BPA in their urine - so its coming from somewhere….

Its also far more likely to seep into whatever food or drink it is containing if we heat it up, it gets exposed to heat or we repeatedly reuse it - all things that can happen quite easily.

So - how do you know if your plastic container contains BPA?

  • First hint: it tends to be clear and very rigid - if so, take a closer look….

  • It isnt labelled PET or ‘BPA free’ - if its not BPA the producers are pretty keen to tell you…

  • Other words which may indicate BPA are: polycarbonate, Leona or polysulfone so look for that

  • It is labelled ‘unbreakable’ or ‘microwave-safe’? - that usually means BPA (and the last thing you want to do is to heat it)

  • Recycling number: the one to avoid is 7, those that are BPA free are likely to carry the recycling numbers 1, 2, 4 or 5

Curve balls:

Another thing to watch out for are metal water containers that have a plastic lining as that ironically may contain BPA and defeat the object of having a metal water container! So just keep an eye out for that.

One alternative that is being used to also watch out for is Fluorene-9-bisphenol (BHPF) which according to a report in New Scientist also binds to the body’s estrogen receptors and can cause reproductive issues.

Sounds like a minefield?! Yes! Very simple solution: its better for us (confusion wise) and the planet to simply use less plastic. Easy!


This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.