BPA in toilet paper and pizza boxes?

Those of you who follow me on Twitter and in blogsphere, know I’ve been trying to get rid of a case of crushed tomatoes. We had this case since before the news broke about BPA tainted canned goods. OK, so we had them for awhile. It was actually part of our emergency stash.

But now, we can’t use them because of BPA in the lining. Tomatoes in cans are especially easy for BPA to leach into foods because of its acidity. But that’s not all. BPA is also in my toilet paper – that’s right – in my TP!! …because I’m trying to do the responsible thing by buying recycled toilet paper, now I have to deal with BPA on my butt. And be responsible for making BPA contaminating the waterways.

Photo: Flickr Commons

O-My-effing-G!! Yes, I did just say that…that’s how MAD I am.

Why can’t they eliminate BPA??? How serious does it have to be before it gets pulled off the market? Messing up our endocrine system is not enough? How about heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. I scoffed recently when FDA finally reversed its opinion and said it is now “taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply.”  But do what you need to do to avoid BPA, they said. Yeah, leave it up to us, won’t you?

So, I can’t use my cans. Some suggest for me to donate them but why should I let others consume them when I won’t even feed them to my dog? I’m thinking, may be, I should compost them.

But just in case you haven’t heard where you are being exposed to BPA, here are some shocking places where you can be in contact with BPA…and this list doesn’t even count the Nalgene and Sigg water bottles, baby formula and sippy cups…etc.

  • Credit card receipts – those that are shiny on one side
  • Cash register receipts
  • Recycled cardboard pizza boxes and paper – from recycled  carbon-less papers
  • Toilet Paper
  • Newspaper Inks
  • Carbon-less papers and fax papers
  • Dental Sealants
  • Dental appliances like night guards
  • Medical instruments
  • Beer and wine – from vats that are lined with a BPA-containing resin
  • Rubbermaid polycarbonate-lined baking tins used by Subway
  • Soda cans and food cans
  • Baby food jar lids and formula packaging  like metal cans, glass jar lids, and paper packaging foil seals
  • Canning jar lids – like Ball’s
  • 3 gallon and 5 gallon water bottles
  • Many non-polycarbonate plastics

Photo: Flickr Commons

Proponents of BPA might say, the amount of BPA present in these items are minute. But the problem is its accumulative effect when we are in contact with all of them.

Picture this.

I go to a store, buy newspaper and a case of beer or soda, get the receipt from the clerk, pick up a pizza pie for dinner, and then after a nice pepperoni pizza dinner, I go to the bathroom, do my business and then, eventually go to bed with my night guard on……get the picture? How many times was I in contact with BPA just from this scenario?

This is scary.

So, what do I do with my canned crushed tomatoes?

NOTE: The information in this post is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Dr. Karen disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information. Opinions and statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. The information is for general consumer understanding and education, and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice and it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. I am not your doctor and you should consult with a qualified health care professional on any matter relating to their health and well being on one-on-one basis with thorough physical examination. Dr. Karen encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Products Dr. Karen recommends and their properties have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using the products. For more info, visit the Disclaimer page.

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Comments

  1. says

    Unbelievable!! I just want to spout a few unladylike words myself after hearing that :( Here I am trying to eliminate as much of it from our home to and to learn that it’s in the TP boggles my mind! Is there a BPA free toilet paper available? And I’m sad to hear it’s in the canning jar lids as I love to can my own jams, veggies and more. It’s like taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Thanks for sharing.

  2. says

    That’s a great question, Karen. Food banks are desperate for donations right now, and the least of their concerns is providing BPA-free food for people who are literally starving. Considering that the majority of goods donated to food pantries have to be canned or boxed due to spoilage issues, and that it’s virtually impossible to find canned goods at this point in time that are BPA-free, I think you can feel OK about donating that case of tomatoes.

    The concern about BPA and the thousands of other industrial chemicals we’re exposed to every day is their cumulative effects. I think any doctor would tell you that a few months of eating canned food from a food bank is a preferable alternative to starving.

  3. says

    Finding out that BPA is in so many different things is utterly horrifying. It’s maddening that our government still allows its use.

    As for the canned tomatoes, you can compost the tomatoes and recycle the cans. If you’re worried about the BPA lingering in compost that you’ll use on your veggies and fruits, start a separate compost pile that’s for your non-edibles.

  4. says

    Aaah! Toilet paper?! It infuriates me that the FDA is dragging its feet so much on this.

    I wish I had ideas for your canned tomatoes – I mean, if you compost them, the BPA might leach into the groundwater or contaminate the compost. Can you return it? Maybe if we all returned our BPA-laced items and asked for refunds, manufacturers would take notice? I’m a firm believer in the power of the consumer, if we pull together.

  5. Amy says

    Truly crazy. (Shaking my head sadly at the number of items with BPA in them.)

  6. Shevawn Weber says

    Edens black beans in the can, found at Whole Foods, are BPA-free. So are POMI tomato products, found in those nifty cardboard boxes at your nearest Italian food market. I have not found any other source of BPA-free tomatoes, tuna, or other canned goods in my research.

  7. says

    I hate to say it, but toss them in the trash. Do not compost them! I am angry at least once daily about the toxic overload assaulting our bodies everyday from food and products.
    Not only do we have mercury in our teeth, we also have plastic with BPA (from new resin fillings). And aluminum overload from inoculations. Add this to the aluminum and triclosan in the deoderant, the BPA in the food production containers, the preservatives, the GMO soy lecithin, high fructose corn syrup, the artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, the “cheese food” and a whole host of other things, and it’s no wonder we as a population suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer of all sorts, and Alzheimer’s and Dementia!!!

    So, did you further know that we grew up eating out of these cans and they have been lined with BPA FOR YEARS. It is not a new thing, or an isolated contamination.
    The new child safetly legislation (CPSIA) from last year banned BPA in all products created for children under 12. Because, according to the FDA, it is not safe for them. Wouldn’t it follow then, that they should stop the children from EATING it also? And that they might want to admit that it is not good for the rest of us, either? Unless some Superman thing happens to our insides at the 13th birthday, so that miraculously, BPA is okay after 12???

    I don’t know the full answers, but our every day is very carefully lived now. We read EVERY label, EVERY ingredient list, and try to keep up with information about how and with what all things are made. It is like wading through crocodile infested waters, and at any moment, one might take a hunk out of you and pull you under. I read recently that the FDA is really only concerned about “acute” toxins (the ones that will kill you right away) as opposed to “chronic” toxins. If it might take 5, 10, 15, or 20 years to kill you, then it really can’t be conclusively linked, can it? Thus, all those things get to sail right on with the classification GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe).

    So, we grow as much of our own food as possible. Purchase meat from local raisers of buffalo (we refuse to eat beef or pork in any form from anywhere). Eat eggs from our own chickens. Buy almost exclusively in bulk and cook from scratch. Avoid all snack food or “mainstream” packaged goods. If we want a sweet snack, we make it ourselves at home. Or we eat organic chocolate bits. We will eat a limited amount of Barbara’s or Cascade Farms organic boxed cereals, but mostly we eat oatmeal or homemade eggs and pancakes for breakfasts. Organic, raw honey only for sweetener. Purchased locally. NEVER, EVER, EVER eat fast food. Do you know what is IN that stuff? Did you know that a Wendy’s spicy chicken fillet sandwich piece of chicken has 28 ingredients!! And is cooked in 4 kinds of oil? And people just think they are eating chicken with some simple breading. No thank you!

    For canning, I recommend Weck canning jars. They are glass lids and glass jars with rubber seals, the way it used to be done before BPA came into the picture. Weck is a German brand. It can be ordered online or in some U.S. locations.

    Now that our family is awake, we know that our government cannot possibly make the supply of everything safe, nor does it want to, in my opinion. The huge, global, corporatism approach does not work. We need to take things back to local levels where there can be closer accountability and we can see the people who produce our food and other products. But, I am afraid that not enough of the population is awake yet.

    Rant over. Thanks for the tip on the TP. I didn’t know that one yet. Now what will we use to wipe?

  8. says

    Rosina: Unfortunately, recycled carbon-less papers are all mixed in with the rest of the recycled paper so it’s hard to single out which TP has what.

    Jennifer: I wholeheartedly agree that eating canned foods with BPA is better than starvation. However, can you imagine, people, like me, who don’t want to eat BPA tainted canned goods, donate all the cans to food banks and then those poor people consume all that food tainted with BPA and get sick later? I dunno. Majority of the people I asked suggested donating them. I just haven’t decided yet.

    Recycla (Jen): I was thinking that too: compost them away from water ways and edible gardens. Would it be safe to recycle the cans though? Will they end up in some post consumer products and end up inside my house some day? Yikes!!

    Becky: I love the idea of returning all the cans too. But then, they’ll probably restock them on the shelves and others might buy them. Back to square one. They’ll just end up in someone else’s pantry and not mine.

    Shevawn: Not all Eden products are BPA free and I forget which ones are definitely NOT. Their beans might be BPA free but I believe their tomatoes are not. Thanks for reminding me about Pomi. I knew about Pomi and I’ll make sure to pick them up next time I go shopping.

    Sinclair: I hear you loud and clear about the necessity to eat locally and from sources that we are familiar with. And we’ve been doing that more and more. I think we do at least 70% of what you do. It’s hard, though, to raise our own food where we live and we are forced to “scrounge” for good food in the winter. At least in the summer, I have the farmers market to go to. You are lucky to have all the right resources available to you eat the freshest foods. I really do envy you and others like you.

    As for alternatives to TPs, I have read some people exploring the ideas of installing bidets and having “family cloths” for wiping. I’m just throwing the ideas out there but I can’t fathom washing all those “family cloths” for wiping since I thought I was done with cloth diapers.

  9. says

    Well, in the winter, I don’t have as much available to me as in spring and summer, either. Last season, I put up tomatoes from my garden and corn from the neighbor’s farm and wild-picked blackberries, so we have been able to draw on these. I did a few pounds of each. As far as the grocery store goes, it is difficult sometimes to even find from USA, much less from my region, but I do try to stay as local as possible. Sometimes that means only local to the US.

    Next, cost can really be an issue. We have been hit hard by this economy with job losses. It is not too to expensive to purchase some things in bulk, but organic non-homogenized milk is awfully pricey, as is organic unfiltered apple juice. We buy milk in the paper container, and juice in glass only. We drink only single ingredient, non-sweetened apple juice, and it is sometimes hard to make certain that was sourced from in the U.S. Sometimes certain brands don’t say the source. Sometimes it is stamped on the container in almost illegible red ink, not even on the label, but just somewhere random.

    In the fall, we use our own apples from our trees, but that is only seasonal, of course. We only drink milk, apple juice, and water, so we buy apple juice year round. Organic produce is very costly as well, and it is hard sometimes to choose organic and have to get a smaller quantity because of price, but we have it mostly ironed out these days.

    I just remind myself that eating foods with pesticide residue on them or traces of it inside them, or eating anything GMO is the same as eating rat poison on purpose. We do have canned goods in the pantry for emergency use, because in a disaster situation, of course it will be more important to just have food than to worry about the composition of that food. But, absent a disaster situation, we try to avoid using canned foods.

    For us, it is a matter of sticking to basics. Beans, rice, bulk flour, bulk nuts, bulk oats, etc… Then, we try to experiment with different spices and recipes that use similar main ingredients, and we try to change up the vegetable choices according to season (though I admit I don’t always adhere as strictly as I might on ‘seasonal’).

    This has been about a 7 year process for us. We also have not used a microwave in about 7 years. We gave up cell phones, except a pre-paid that stays in the car for emergency use. We went back to a hard-wired house phone (not cordless). It is on ongoing process of lifestyle change as we learn new information. I am happy to find like-minded individuals with whom I can share because most of my family (and most of my husband’s family) thinks we are a little nuts. I think they are nuts for seeing the evidence and the news stories and all the new information, and not making changes in their own lives. But we agree to disagree.

  10. says

    Hmmm, I wonder if the reason my husband’s hands swell up and itch when he handles certain packing cartons is because they contain BPA. It’s usually those unsealed (no shiny coating), and he figured it was something in the ink they used. You make an excellent point when you say that while BPA has been deemed safe in small quantities, those small quantities add up. That’s something hubby and I have discussed on may occasions about all kinds of chemicals that we’re exposed to every day.

    As for your crushed tomatoes, no chance you still have the receipt, huh? If you do, and unless it’s been way too long, you could try returning them to the store. You could also try contacting the company to see if they’ll provide you with coupons for another product or something. It’s hard to just throw away money, basically. It’s also hard to destroy food when people are hungry. You could donate them to a food bank and think of it this way: if your family ate all the tomatoes, you’ll be exposed to 100% of the BPA in that case. If the food bank gives one can each to a bunch of families, they’re exposed to a lot less, and if they are in need enough to ask for help, they’ll appreciate the food.

  11. says

    Wow, I mean just, wow. I barely even know where to begin on this. One of the things that hit me right away while reading through the list is notice how many of the items to allegedly contain BPA are recycled or reused type items. My poor conspiracy theory brain makes me question if this is all just a ploy to encourage less Greening up of things, or the “better Green options” that are out there. I wonder if its all recycled paper TP (7th Gen yes, store brand no or something similar). Anyway, my brain is definitely wired to question everything so my number one most pressing question is how do we find out what REALLY contains BPA, what the quantity of the dangerous chemical is and waht we can ultimately do to avoid it. And people wonder why YEARS ago I drew up this little diagram indicating the definite need for everything to go back to farming (this was right after most of the US farmers had sold off their land to big developers for the construction of huge McMansions). As a people we should be doing everything we can to demand that our health is not compromised, eliminating BPA would be a good place to start so growing our own foods would be a fantastic way to ensure that happens. Thanks for posting this Karen, I’m all riled up now lol!

  12. says

    Good things happen when we are all “riled” up so keep it up!! I’m with you. I’m determined to find out what else contain BPA…..how about cosmetic containers. Our skin might be absorbing BPA through creams and lotions bottled in plastic. How about the rest of glass bottle lids….pickles, sauces, olives, and all of them and not just baby foods and canning jar lids. We are all switching to glass jars left and right and can you imagine if the lids contain BPA?

  13. says

    I wish we can ALL take back canned goods to show them that we are not going to take toxins in our foods and that we are NOT guinea pigs that they can dump the stuff on. You are right. I wish I can do that. And you know what? I just may and talk to the supermarket manager about it. I called my dentist and asked him about BPA in dental appliances. He researched and got back to me that there’s no BPA in the dental appliance that we are using from the company he’s using. But he said, he’s going to investigate further about BPA in his practice. That was reassuring.

  14. says

    Well, the lids often do contain BPA, but at least it is far less than the whole container. And, unless it is something like tomatoes with their acidity, or something that was jarred in high heat, I don’t think the lids are going to affect some products too much. (I would prefer NONE, but if there is some, I will still take glass jars with questionable lids over all plastic containers.)

    However, as far as cosmetics go, I rarely use any kind of makeup, and when I do, it is mineral makeup. I use lip balm from Merry Hempsters Vegan lip balm, and it is in plastic, but I have seen some chapsticks now being packaged in paper tubes (Organic Essence in the EcoTube: http://www.naturalhomemagazine.com/Naturally-Beautiful/Organic-Essence-Eco-Tubes.aspx), so now I can buy those instead of plastic.

    I don’t use lotion. I use olive oil for all moisturizing. I keep it in a glass bottle with a glass dropper and rubber lined lid.

    I don’t use any perfume (or parfum). I occasionally use essential oils for scent, mixed with olive oil as the carrier.

    I don’t use commercial deoderant or antiperspirant. I use my own concoction of baking soda and cornstarch. Kept in a glass jar with metal (non-BPA lined) lid. Shea butter is good to mix with it to make it creamy enough to stick under-arm, but sometimes I just use olive oil for that as well.

    When we bring home some products that came in plastic, we transfer them to glass bottles and jars and put our own label on them so we know what they are.

  15. Danica says

    Did Sinclair say “throw them in the trash”??? What does she think happens to them when she throws them in the trash? Good lord people…things just don’t disappear when you put them in the trash!!!! No matter where you take those cans, the BPA will end up in our atmosphere (trash incineration) or in our waterways (runoff from landfills) or in our bodies (from the air/water/food consumption), so why not save some starving humans with those tomatoes? I’m sure the starving poor care more about eating right now than the possible cancer they might get them in 50 years…dead people aren’t hungry. DONATE THEM.