Photo: Day 6: Hormone disruption is annoying

We handle these everyday, the store receipt (Credit: Nick J Adams via Flickr)

Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table

Choices about what you eat can make as big a difference for the environment as how you get around. Before reaching for your favorite comfort food this Thanksgiving, join the David Suzuki Foundation for our 11-day challenge, Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table. Starting Oct. 5th, you could win an awesome prize just by sharing your story on Facebook. Plus you'll get helpful eco-advice from me, the Queen of Green.

Answer the daily Facebook question by adding your comment. Don't have a comment to share? Check out the others and vote for your favourite. We're giving out fabulous prizes for the comment with the most "Likes".

The planet doesn't need another fad diet. But how much do you know about where your food comes and the type of impact it's having on the planet? What are you doing to eat more sustainably?

Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table

Did you buy a coffee this morning? If so, chances are you've been exposed to bisphenol-A, more famously know as BPA, even before that first satisfying sip. And you'll never guess where it's leaching from this time.

The Environmental Working Group found that 40 per cent of the 36 receipts sampled from major U.S. businesses and services, including McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Whole Foods, Walmart and Safeway, contained BPA.

Bisphenol-A is an industrial chemical used primarily in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins and according to Statistics Canada, 95 per cent of Canadians have detectable levels of it in their urine. The human health concern is the ability of BPA to mimic estrogen.

I rest my case: hormone disruption is annoying. Or is this a sign that our consumptive society should buy less? I can't say for sure.

Don't be completely bummed out, even though you probably just finished replacing your plastic water bottles. But you'll still have to bear with me, because I've got one more tidbit of bad news.

Last year my tip for greening your holiday dinner went something like this: "Buy fewer canned foods." Unfortunately, BPA is used in the epoxy resin of canned goods. It becomes hazardous to our health because it refuses to stay put and migrates out of tin cans and into baby formula, beans and soups.

Many of us are really trying to reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals. And I wouldn't tell you all of this if there weren't things you could do!

Step 1

Choose a reusable stainless-steel water bottle or, if you prefer the lighter aluminum version, the Cancer Smart Guide 3.1 recommends those known not to leach BPA, like SIGG.

Step 2

Buy fewer canned foods. Choose alternative packaging like glass jars because they won't leach anything and they're reusable.

Step 3

Instead of canned fruits and veggies, buy fresh, frozen or dried. Dried beans or chickpeas, for example, taste much better this way (once soaked and cooked of course), and you can control the salt and sugar content.

Step 4

The reality is that we all handle receipts, but especially people in the service industry. Be sure to wash your hands often with an eco-friendly soap. You can even make your own liquid hand soap. Always avoid triclosan, which is commonly found in liquid hand soaps.

And last but not least, ask your retailers or employers to switch to BPA-free receipt paper, if they haven't already. I was in a restaurant last week — albeit a very forward-thinking, sustainable one with all the green bells and whistles — and they had a sign at the till that read "BPA-free receipt paper."

Tell us how you're reducing your exposure to BPA. We're giving out fabulous prizes for the Facebook comment with the most "likes." What prizes are up for grabs? For the men, you could win a shaving kit (made from an up-cycled leather jacket) with safer non-toxic personal-care products inside or a metallic coloured SIGG water bottle. For the ladies, you'll also receive a sample of safer cosmetic products, including a bar of Queen of Green soap and a shiny red SIGG water bottle!

How do you reduce your exposure to chemicals like BPA?

Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

October 10, 2010

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Sep 12, 2014
6:32 AM

I teach woman how to avoid all xenoestrogens by learning The 7 Deadly Estro-Sins. With use of an acronym BSFACTS people can cut through the BS and leans the FACTS about xenoestrogens.

Nov 15, 2010
2:46 PM

Good news Heidi,

I used your question about BPA in baby formula in my weekly column in the Metro News for November 8th. You can view my full comment here.

Thanks for taking the time to write in, Lindsay Coulter
David Suzuki’s Queen of Green

Oct 11, 2010
8:32 AM

ive just read your information on BPA! wow is it ever scary to think that it is in everything like canned foods and things of this likeness. However what can we do for the mothers and babies who need the formula that comes from a can??? Some mothers can not breastfeed and they are forced to use formula from a can! So how can we help them?? Maybe start putting the formula in BPA free plastic bottles! I have a newborn baby and this sure is some scary information to be reading about now that i am using the formula. My questions is:: What are the effects of this BPA in the formula cans? and should i be worried on how i am feeding my baby?? Thanks Heidi Wesley A concerned mother!

Oct 10, 2010
3:48 PM

Thank you so much for this article! We just recently switched over to stainless steel water bottles and are also going to stop using canned foods after reading this. So grateful for you sharing!!!

Oct 10, 2010
1:04 PM

I’m looking for a home espresso maker that does not have a water container that is made from Bisphenal plastic. Does anyone know it?

Oct 10, 2010
10:48 AM

For myself, doing my two-cents worth is my duty to mother earth for having me here. Yes we have mother-nature who we can not say no to; and all we are to do is to clean-up after ourselves. I feel blessed for my time on this planet. I think if we are smart enough to create it, we must learn that we must learn how to destroy it. NOTHING lasts forever. Peace be with you.

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