Dr Oz: BPA, PFOA & PVC: Hidden Obesogens

Doctor Oz spoke about the dangers of Obesogens found in our food supply, but he also spoke about Obesogens hidden in our pantries.  Some of these I had already heard about on other episodes of Dr Oz, but it was a fabulous reminder if nothing else.

Hidden Obesogens in Your Home

1.  BPA (Bisphenol A)

Dr Oz said that BPA is a synthetic estrogen found in many household products, which has been banned from baby bottles for a while now.  However, if you are buying baby formula in cans, the lining of the cans are coated with BPA… so you are taking BPA enriched baby formula and putting it into BPA-free baby bottles.  So please try to avoid baby formula in cans.  Also, cut back on canned foods, especially for acidic foods (like tomatoes) or fatty foods.  Tuna and salmon which you used to only find in cans, is now available in pouches.  In addition, boiling water leeches out the BPA 50 times faster than cold water, so avoid putting boiling water in plastic containers that may contain BPA.  If you look at the bottom of a plastic container and it has a triangle with either a 3 or 7 inside of it, then Dr Oz said that it is highly likely that it contains BPA.  If the triangle has a 1,2,4,5 or 6 in it, then it is unlikely to have BPA.  As a general rule of thumb, do not plastic containers in the microwave, use glass containers instead.

2.  PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid)

Dr Oz said that PFOA or Perfluorooctanoic Acid is often found in the lining of nonstick pans, microwave popcorn bags or pizza boxes.  PFOA can impact your thyroid gland, which controls your weight via your hormones.  So pop popcorn on the stove-top like how grandma used to do it, and avoid nonstick pans.  However, if you are going to use a Teflon pan, make sure to use a wooden spoon instead of a metal utensil, otherwise you can actually scrape off pieces of the PFOA into your food.

3.  PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

Dr Oz said that PVC or polyvinyl chloride (a fancy name for what we call vinyl) gives off phthalates which lower testosterone and make your body burn fat less efficiently.  So if you have vinyl shower curtains, you are basically bathing yourself in PVC.  Instead, look for hemp or polyester shower curtains.  Also, phthalates are found in the industrial plastic wrap used in grocery stores to wrap up packages of meat.  Instead, go to the butcher and pick out what you like from behind the case and have them wrap it in their brown paper.  Interestingly enough, the saran wrap used in homes does not contain the same phthalates is supposed to be safe.  Different home fragrances or air fresheners also carry phthalates, so be careful!


  1. Hugh Rushing says

    The article omits key facts on nonstick cookware and PFOA. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that in particular, the non-stick coated cookware it has tested “do not appear to be a significant source of PFOA which will migrate [to food] due to [nonstick] cookware’s low … [parts per billion] initial residual level of PFOA.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states on its PFOA website, “The information that EPA has available does not indicate that the routine use of consumer products poses a concern. At present, there are no steps that EPA recommends that consumers take to reduce exposures to PFOA.” Nonstick coatings have been, and continue to be, approved for use by the FDA, the European Food Safety Authority and other public health agencies worldwide.

    Hugh Rushing
    Executing Vice President
    Cookware Manufacturers Association

  2. says

    I applaud the idea of creating a safer home, and because there’s so much misinformation out there about Teflon, I’m not surprised that there is concern. I’m a representative of DuPont though, and hope you’ll let me share some information with you and your readers so that everyone can make truly informed decisions.

    Regulatory agencies, consumer groups and health associations all have taken a close look at Teflon. This article highlights what they found — the bottom line is that you can use Teflon without worry.


  3. Concerned Chemist says

    I saw this show and as an employee of a US can manufacturer was alittle put off. More than 90% of the domestically produced tuna cans are currently BPA free. The industry is changing due to public pressure but because they are not announcing the changes, they are automatically considered guilty.
    If you’re not sure that your choice product is BPA free or not, ask the manufacturer. Don’t rely on generalizations and assumptions by celebrities.

  4. says

    Very interesting Concerned Chemist… Would you mind giving me the name of companies that are BPA free? I have done some of my own leg work and have not been able to find a company that says they are BPA free. Here is another article I wrote that includes a conversation I had with Veg-All / Allen’s (who was the only company that replied to my inquiries regarding BPA): BPA in Canned Food

  5. Concerned Chemist says

    Currently, almost all domestic filled 3, 5 and 12 oz cans filled by Starkist (American Samoa), Bumble Bee (Santa Fe Springs, Ca and Mayaguez, Puerto Rico) and Chicken of the Sea (Lyons Ga) use an aluminized interior coating that does not contain BPA as an ingredient. The problem is that some of the more unusual flavors are imported and do not have the same cans; like the BB sensations flavored 3.6 oz. (ex. lemon pepper). These use a foreign can and have had higher levels.

    Essentially all chunk light and white albacore (oil or water) from the above companies in standard 2 piece cans with sanitary ends (no EZO) do not have BPA containing linings inside. The only exception at this time that, I am aware, of is the Bumble Bee Touch of Lemon which will be changing soon. Many of the EZO skews have changed or are changing so I can’t be certain as of their status at this time.

    In my opinion, I believe they can’t claim BPA free (or choose not to at this time) as not all of their products have been switched and it becomes very confusing which brands from which locations are and which are not. And especially overseas, cans comes from many approved suppliers so all have to be switched and approved with alternatives prior to any claims.

    Lastly, there’s still plenty of debate on the safety of BPA and the major governments still approve its use. It’s the media and public pressure that are promoting these changes.

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