The additive ubiquitous in hard plastics has been catching a lot of flack lately. And rightfully so. Bisphenol A (BPA) — a known endocrine disruptor — has been linked to reproductive disorders, behavioral problems in animals, and liver damage. In light of this, the Canadian government outlawed its use in baby bottles last April. Now there's more news for the chemical: Research published in September by a team from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio suggested that BPA is a risk factor for human metabolic syndrome — a disorder that afflicts millions of Americans with symptoms such as obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

When researchers exposed three types of human fat tissues to BPA levels that replicated environmental exposure, they found that the chemical suppressed the hormone adiponectin, which regulates insulin sensitivity, upping obesity risk and other health issues. In the same month, similar research that studied urinary concentrations of BPA in 1,455 adults was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Although approximately 90 percent of the U.S. population has detectable blood levels of BPA, the FDA continues to support its use in consumer plastic products.

How to avoid BPA

  • Opt for frozen or bottled vegetables instead of canned ones to reduce exposure to BPA in cans' white epoxy lining.
  • Drink from reusable stainless-steel water bottles.
  • Choose sippy cups, baby bottles, and water bottles made from BPA-free polyethylene.
  • Eat tuna sealed in pouches — not cans.