Why plastic toys, canned food and bottled water are unsafe for your dog
I love writing about happy and uplifting topics, but sometimes I feel compelled and obligated to share information on less positive topics, such as plastic toxicity and the negative effects it has on our health and the health of our dogs.
Plastic causes physical damage to the environment and animals such as fish, marine mammals and birds and also contains toxic BPA.
What is BPA?
BPA stands for Bisphenol A, an organic chemical compound that’s been used in plastic for the past 60 years. BPA is a xenoestrogen - a substance that mimics estrogen. It’s used in the production of plastic water bottles, dental fillings, the lining of most cans, plastic water pipes and the thermal print paper used for retail receipts.
What are the health effects of BPA?
Unfortunately, studies confirm even BPA-free plastic contains other forms of xenoestrogens, which can disturb the hormonal balance in humans and animals, including our dogs.
Approximately 37 trillion chemical reactions happen in the body every second and research confirms xenoestrogens in plastic can change the function of glands and have negative effects on sexual behavior and fertility. Laboratory studies have also shown xenoestrogens, including BPA, increase the likelihood of leukemia and testicular cancer.
These estrogen-like substances can also affect the brain structure and chemistry, which can result in hyperactivity, restlessness and heightened propensity to drug use in humans.
What governments do about BPA?
Government regulations of different countries vary when it comes to limiting the use of BPA, but there is sufficient evidence to see that BPA and xenoestrogen pose a significant health risk and reducing their use is a very wise thing to do.
My sense is regulatory bodies are trying to avoid a major disturbance in the food and drink industry. It seems BPA and plastic producers are one of the most influential lobbying groups in the US, which makes addressing BPA and xenoestrogen toxicity difficult.
From the research I’ve done, it appears some companies refuse to disclose what alternatives they use in place of BPA in bottles and the lining of cans labeled BPA free.
Here are examples of countries where BPA was declared toxic or banned from all packaging and containers or at least baby food packaging and bottles:
In the U.S., the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles, children’s sippy cups and infant formula packaging.
In Europe, the Member State Committee of the European Chemicals Agency has classified BPA a substance of very high concern.
A disappointing fact
Interestingly, Switzerland is home to many food industry giants that sell canned and processed food, soft drinks and bottled water and its government imposes no regulations and proclaimed BPA safe. There is much evidence now that BPA is toxic and harmful, so one naturally has to wonder if the Swiss regulatory agencies are just protecting the interests of big corporations.
What does this all mean for you and your dog?
Based on the information above, the safest approach is to limit exposure to BPA whenever possible. Here is a list of practical suggestions to reduce BPA and xenoestrogen in your dog’s life.
7 practical steps to reduce your dog's xenoestrogen exposure
- Never use water in plastic bottles or containers. Get a good stainless steel water bottle for your dog. Use glass whenever possible.
- Avoid canned food as most dog food cans are lined with resins containing BPA and other xenoestrogens.
- Don’t use plastic toys even if they are labeled BPA-free. Replace them with toys made of natural materials such as wool or wood.
- Never use plastic containers for storage or reheating and store your dog’s food in glass.
- Check if your dog’s food packaging is BPA-free.
- Avoid any supplements or oils packaged in plastic and look for supplements packaged in glass.
- Take your dog through a liver cleanse every six months because the liver detoxes BPA.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM