One health controversy that is certain to continue in 2009: the debate over the health effects of the chemical bisphenol A. Used to harden plastics, BPA can leak from food-storage containers into the contents. The impact of the transference is less clear. In the body, BPA mimics estrogen, and studies have linked it to increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, and infertility. But as recently as this month, the Food and Drug Administration reaffirmed its position that BPA is safe, though it will continue to study the chemical's effects.
In the meantime, health experts agree that the best advice is to play it safe. Buy food and beverages sold in glass containers, and store your leftovers the same way. When buying bottled water, look for containers that have a number 7 in their recycling code; those don't usually contain BPA. And, of course, you can always opt for fresh food and drink.