I try to stay informed about the products we use as a family. So when my sister sent me a recent article, “BPA-free plastics may still pose health risk,” my initial feeling was….PANIC. Clearly my sister forgot she was dealing with an alarmist! Well, maybe not an alarmist, but when it comes to my kid’s health, I take these things seriously. Considering the amount of BPA-free products we use – including baby bottles, sippy cups and water bottles – it got me thinking about this seemingly unresolved issue of plastic safety.
Bisphenol A (also called BPA) is a chemical used in polycarbonate plastic bottles, in addition to a slew of other consumer products. When these plastic bottles are heated, they leach high levels of BPA. BPA is a chemical linked to an increased risk of prostate and breast cancers, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and early puberty. Though the jury is still out on whether the levels of BPA are high enough to cause any real health effects in humans, this revelation prompted major manufacturers of baby bottles (and other products) to produce BPA-free products. The majority of these BPA-free products entered the market in January 2009.
This latest article raises new concerns:
- A “large majority” of BPA-free plastic materials were shown to leak other harmful materials. The leaking of these materials increases when the bottles are subjected to dishwashing, microwaving, and sunlight. This is a problem since many of us clean our baby bottles in the dishwasher, warm or sterilize them in the microwave, or put them on the back porch to catch some rays.
- The chemicals of concern are called EDCs, short for endocrine disrupting chemicals and have “been linked to adverse health effects such as birth defects, reproductive cancers, and behavioral and learning disorders.”
Ironically, I used glass bottles with my second child…I bought them on a whim cruising the aisles of Target. The only real disadvantage I saw with the glass bottles is that they are breakable, which I’ve since realized can be a big downside when small active children are around.
I know these studies are ongoing and the levels of chemicals may be harmless, but I can’t help but wonder now when I am choosing bottles for my 2 month old. Let us know your thoughts on this.