BPA is a man-made plastic found in many household items - including reusable water bottles, baby bottles and epoxy resins lining cans of food and soft drinks - and can leak into food and drinks in those containers.
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health suggested a link between BPA and higher rates of cancer, reproductive system abnormalities and nutritional and developmental problems among children who were exposed to BPA while their mothers were pregnant. It may soon be banned in Canada and is also subject to increased regulatory scrutiny in the U.S.
A few suggestions from the May 2008 issue of Consumer Reports magazine on how to avoid BPA from leaching into your drinkables:
* Hard, transparent plastic containers marked with the recycling codes ''7'' or ''PC'' usually contain materials made with BPA.
* Use bottles marked with recycling codes ''1,'' ''2,'' or ''5'' instead. Those numbers stand for polyethylene, high-density polyethylene and polypropylene, all BPA-free hard plastics.
* Glass baby bottles or those made of polyethylene are safest, said Consumer Reports.
* Try a stainless steel or aluminum reusable water bottle.