I didn't tell my husband I planned to throw away his favorite water bottles.
I was certain the two he used most often -- a red one and a yellow one, the yellow one covered in stickers -- contained bisphenol A, or BPA, a hormone-like chemical I'd been researching for a story.
After the research, I vowed to get rid of (well, at least cut back on) the BPA-containing items in our home.
BPA is found in everything from receipts from the grocery store to water bottles to the lining of canned goods. I expected to find myself making an argument for replacing all of our plastic containers, but it turns out there weren't many BPA-containing items to expel from my home.
The water bottles, though, had to go. To determine if something plastic contains BPA, check out the bottom of the container. If the recycling symbol has a "7" in the middle of it, it may contain BPA. If it has "PC" underneath the recycling symbol, it definitely contains BPA, according to Jenny Carwile, a researcher with the Harvard School of Public Health.
Both of the water bottles had the telltale marks indicating they contain BPA. I piled them on the counter in our kitchen with our canned goods, trying to determine whether it's even prudent to give up canned tomatoes and beans.
My husband came home from work and noticed I'd grouped his water bottles with the cans.
He began by convincing me not to get rid of the canned goods. When I protested that consuming food from cans lined with BPA could affect my fertility, he said, "BPA has been around for 60 years. We're here. It'll be fine."
I'll probably try to cut back on canned tomatoes and beans as much as possible, but I don't think it's practical to cut them out completely at this point -- they're too inexpensive and too convenient.
My husband asked me not to throw away his favorite water bottles until I replace them, which seemed like a fair compromise to me.
Last week, as I surveyed the Nalgene bottles at Target, I noticed most were plastered with big stickers screaming, "BPA Free!" I picked out two and plan to give them to him for Christmas -- here's hoping for less exposure to BPA in 2012.
-- Annie Siebert