What’s All the Fuss About BPA?

May 19, 2010 at 9:51 pm Leave a comment

BPA Bottles and CansFrankly, it’s not entirely clear: Bisphenol-A (BPA) is still under investigation.  However, studies on BPA are showing concerning data that warrant caution from parents.  According to the National Institutes of Health, “Evidence from animal studies indicates BPA may cause adverse effects such as obesity, behavioral changes, diabetes, early onset puberty, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, reproductive disorders, development of prostate, breast and uterine cancer, and transgenerational or epigenetic effects.”   Additionally, preliminary studies have suggested a relationship between BPA levels during early stages of pregnancy and behavioral patterns that are atypical for a given gender in toddlers. 

Unfortunately, BPA is almost certainly in your home and worse yet, it’s in your kitchen.  In addition to some clear plastic baby bottles, infant formula cans, and toys, BPA is used extensively in consumer food packaging and containers including clear, hard plastic water bottles, and to line soft drink and canned food products.  Studies have shown trace amounts of BPA are leaching into liquids and foods, and the leaching is worse when the plastics are heated.   Many companies including several baby bottle makers and Nalgene have announced that they will stop using BPA, and several – though unfortunately not most – states have banned BPA in children’s products.

What to look for: the plastic containing BPA is called polycarbonate.  Most hard, clear plastics are made with polycarbonate – you can look for the number 7 in the recycling triangle on the bottom of the container, however that is a catch-all recycling code so it’s not always polycarbonate, nor is the stamp always present.

Recommendations for Parents:

  • Cook with fresh or frozen vegetables rather than canned
  • Use BPA-free bottles and sippy-cups such as Born Free
  • Look for BPA-free infant formula containers, or use powder formula
  • Check labels or visit toy manufacturer web sites if materials are not published to ensure that toys do not include BPA or use polycarbonate.
  • Avoid hand-me-down plastic chew toys or baby bottles
  • Avoid microwaving in plastic containers

Resources:

National Institutes of Health Bisphenol-A (BPA) Research

Baby’s Toxic Bottle: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular Baby Bottles

Entry filed under: Toxins. Tags: , .

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