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Packing a Healthy Kids’ Lunch is Not Only about Avoiding Junk Food

Today’s health conscious dad may have more to worry about than just junk food.

As the debate over the safety of Bisphenol A (BPA) continues among scientists and the health community, more parents are looking to reduce their consumption of products that contain BPA, which has been linked to a variety of  health problems.

Earlier this month, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), a federal agency that gauges the safety of chemicals, reported that its research shows “some concern” regarding the effects of BPA on the brain development of fetuses and young children. Children in particular are considered particularly vulnerable to the chemical, which is thought to interfere with development.

Moreover, plastic containers often used in kids’ lunches can contain BPA and pose potential risks to a child’s health. Limiting a child’s exposure to BPA products means revaluating the plastic items in lunches, and looking for new alternatives.

The Investor Environmental Health Network reported that consumers, manufacturers, and retailers are already forgoing the chemical, buying and selling BPA-free bottles and other products. Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R Us have already announced their intention to shift away from products containing BPA.

For dads concerned about the potentially harmful side effects of BPA on their kids, here are a few additional easy tips to limit their exposure to BPA:

•    Watch out for the number 7 on the bottom of plastic containers, which often indicates the presence of BPA

•    Avoid canned foods for children

•    Don’t microwave plastic food containers that contain the chemical, as heat can make it easier for BPA to leach.

Whenever possible, store kids’ food and beverages in clearly marked BPA-free containers made from materials like stainless steel.

Many other options for BPA and plastic-free food storage are available. For instance, Thermos has made reusable lunch containers for years and has just introduced  stainless steel vacuum-insulated containers under the Foogo and FUNtainer brand names.   Thermos, like many other companies, now only produce products in PVC and BPA- free versions.