31 March 2011

Staying Away from BPA

Earlier this year, I wrote about the problem with tin cans: they're lined with plastic containing BPA. A friend just sent me a link to an article with more information on the problems with the chemical -- used as an additive to make plastic softer and more pliable -- and recommendations for how to avoid it.

According to the article, it should be easy to avoid drinking bottled water, eating with plastic utensils, or storing food in plastic containers; moderately difficult to switch to French press coffee and avoid microwaveable meals; and hard to stop eating food out of cans.

I found the difficulty ratings curious. Bottled water, plastic forks, French press -- check. (I also like the French press because there's no filter to throw away, and after breaking a few glass ones, I switched to a stainless steel one that will last forever. Why wouldn't using one be easy?)

But I don't own a microwave, and when I did for a couple of years recently, I was using it to reheat leftovers (in glass containers), bake potatoes, warm up coffee gone cold and, memorably, attempt to bake a couple of beets (they caught fire: not just smoke, actual flames). I can't imagine wanting to eat a microwaveable meal. (Do they make vegan ones? Maybe that has something to do with it.)

I've been cooking my own beans lately (right now, there are black beans in the fridge and pintos cooling in the crock pot) and have been working toward avoiding cans altogether. There's still some canned coconut milk and one stray can of chick peas in the larder, but I'm getting closer.

But avoiding plastic containers? I've been having trouble with that. I have some stainless steel containers in the house with lids that don't fit well, and some glass bowls with plastic lids as well as plenty of empty canning jars, at this time of year. But the glass sits at the back of the cabinet unused, and it's the plastic containers I go for, time after time -- because I know it won't break.