Avoiding BPA? Meet the Controversial New Plastic Label

If youíre avoiding BPA because of its endocrine-disrupting properties, thereís a new plastic label that you may want to keep on your radar: EA free. But it’s controversial.

More and more consumers are shopping for BPA (bisphenol-A) free plastic as evidence mounts that BPA is bad for our health. This endocrine disruptor leaches from plastic into our food and drink, and itís linked to a slew of health problems including breast cancer, intestinal inflammation, and obesity.

BPA isnít the only endocrine disruptor used in plastic manufacturing. In fact, many BPA free plastics contain BPS (bisphenol-S), which is just as harmful to our bodies, if not more so. BPS disrupts brain cell growth and may cause hyperactivity. Not exactly something that you want in your baby bottle or sippy cup.

Companies that produce EA free plastic claim that their products are safer, because they donít leach any endocrine disrupting chemicals. Right now, the EA free label is embroiled in controversy.

The Battle Over EA Free Plastic

There are two companies claiming that theyíve cracked the code for producing EA free plastic: Eastman Chemical and PlastiPure. And they just finished duking it out in court after PlastiPureís marketing materials began questioning whether Eastman Chemicalís ďTritanĒ plastics are really EA free.

Eastman Chemical claims that Tritan is free of chemicals that behave like estrogen in the body. Chemicals that mimic estrogen are a major category of endocrine disruptors. When EA free began to gain some popularity among consumers, Eastman Chemical slapped an EA free label on its Tritan products.

The PlastiPure company website explains that BPA and phthalates are only two of hundreds of chemicals that mimic estrogen in our bodies and says that their EA free plastic doesnít contain these chemicals. They specifically say that their plastics are certified EA free.

PlastiPureís certification comes from a company called CertiChem. Both PlastiPure and CertiChem were founded by professor of neuroscience (and savvy business man) George Bittner. Bittner says he started both companies because he believes strongly in the importance of producing safer plastics.

When Eastman Chemical got wind that PlastiPureís new marketing materials were throwing shade on their EA free claims, they took PlastiPure to court. A federal jury ruled in Eastman Chemicalís favor, and an appeals court upheld the ruling back in December.

What began in the courtroom has evolved into a battle of scientific papers. PlastiPure and CertiChem began testing BPA free plastics, including Eastman Chemicalís Tritan, to try to prove that Tritan is not really an EA free plastic. Hereís one of the papers they released (pdf alert).

At this point, any plastic claiming to be truly EA free seems a little bit dubious. Eastman Chemical says that theyíve debunked PlastiPureís claims about Tritan, but they also point to tests that they conducted themselves. Bittner and PlastiPure come off seeming like the good guys here, but can you trust a chemical company with millions at stake thatís also basically certifying itself?

The idea of EA free plastic is definitely exciting, but before we can really trust those labels there needs to be some evidence from researchers who arenít being paid by a chemical company. In the meantime, going plastic free as much as possible seems to be the safest choice for consumers.

Image credit: bnazario via Flickr

Related:
10 Ways to Get Plastic Out of Your Kitchen
Key Strategies for a Plastic-Free Life

197 comments

Becka T.
Becka T2 years ago

Thank you

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Ree O.
Ree O2 years ago

It's best all round that we avoid plastic. Even the ones that are definitely EA free, wouldn't they still be made using oil? Less plastic, less waste, less oil spills, less trash on our beaches, parks, in seas and oceans.

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Melissa DogLover
Melissa D2 years ago

Very interesting.... thanks.

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S J.
S J2 years ago

thanks for the info

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Morrigna Pavietre
Morrigna P2 years ago

Just replacing one crap with the other making it harder and harder to avoid the chemicals

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Philipa Longley
Philipa L2 years ago

Thanks for the info.

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Valerie A.
Valerie A2 years ago

thanks

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Sheila Miller
Sheila M2 years ago

I like to use glass when possible, especially when storing food in the refrigerator. I think the food keeps better in glass, and the container does not retain the smell of the food. Thank you for this information. Plastic is has pros and cons, just like glass.

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Margaret F.
Marge F2 years ago

Thank you for posting this informative article.

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