Saturday, March 8, 2008

Baby Bottles. Watch out I'm on my soapbox!!

For my baby I'm choosing Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalate free baby bottles. Both of these chemicals are endocrine disruptor's that the body confuses for estrogen.
Over 95% of the baby bottles on the market are made from plastics that contain BPA which can leach out of the bottle particularly when heated. There is a large body of evidence showing that BPA exposure even in tiny amounts has harmful effects in lab animals. Effects include (but are not limited to) early puberty, hyperactivity, obesity, diabetes and lower sperm counts. Many environmental health organizations in the US and Canada are calling for an immediate moratorium on the use of BPA in food and beverage containers while the FDA reviews the safety of these products.
Many people are falling back on the idea that these products have been used for years and if they were good enough for me why aren't they good enough for my baby. I find this argument extremely short sighted. There was a time we didn't think cigarettes were that bad for us, and we obviously know the ending of that story. We have no idea what the long term effects are of these types of chemicals, but if there is one isn't better to take the 'ounce of prevention' route now while we wait and see?
There are more and more BPA free options becoming available so it is not impossbile to choose BPA free products. I've currently placed Evenflo glass bottles on my registry, since glass products do not have the same potentially harmful chemicals in them. There are plastic bottles made by Born Free that do not contain any BPA although they tend to be a little more expensive (but not outrageous).
In terms of breast milk pumping and storage the Medela Breastmilk storage and feeding set is made from polyproplyene and therefore is also BPA free (polycarbonate is the plastic that is potentially hazardous). I also registered for this type of pump even though they are very expensive. I feel strongly enough about this to pay the extra money myself and while some people may find it presumptive to register for such expensive gifts I don't actually expect anyone to purchase it for me. However, it is the kind of gift a group of people could go in together on if they wanted so it makes sense to me to leave it on there.
Generally products labeled with recycling symbols of 1,2,4,5 are thought to be safe while 3, 6,and 7 may contain harmful chemicals.
Also clear silicone nipples are free of all BPA as are the drop-in type liners (at least the playtex ones for sure I didn't look into all of them) used in many feeding systems (although obviously less environmentally friendly).
Both the Playtex and Avent company's have letters on the websites saying that the dangers of BPA are unproven and the FDA currently approves of all products they sell (They are the only ones I looked up at this point). These company's obviously have a lot to loose if their products get pulled from the market and therefore will certainly do everything they can to prevent the FDA from doing so.

11 comments:

Tiffiny said...

While babies aren't on our to-do list quite yet, I find this information extremely valuable and thankful that you took the time to share it with all of us. This is the type of stuff that worries me as a future-mom. How many things are we doing for or giving to our children that they will find out later on was a bad idea? Obviously, I don't want to be one of those playground moms that shields her child from EVERYTHING and there are some things you just can't plan for or predict, but when we do have information available (like the info you shared here), it's ignorant of us to ignore it; parent, company, or otherwise. Thanks for sharing Becky! BTW, where are those baby names??!!

Kristy said...

Gerber baby food in the plastic containers is a 7... so I guess don't heat them up?

Kristy said...

Ok - I called Gerber and got an actual person! No BPA in their plastic food containers. Polystyrene exterior and polyethanolene interior - a multi layered plastic that is approved by the FDA for a lot of food containers. I did point out that BPA is approved also but she assured me that it wasn't in their food containers.

Becky said...

Way to go Kristy. Number 7 plastic is tricky because sometimes its made of BPA free and sometimes it isn't. I'm guessing its the combination of plastics that makes this particular item a #7. Polystyrene could contain BPA, but Polyethanolene does NOT and since that is what is coming in contact with the food you are safe.

Kristy said...

Don't mess!

schwachmama said...

It is found in most bottles...water, soda, etc as well as liners in most cans....so you might want to watch out for those too...

Becky said...

Actually, most water and soda bottles (in NY at least) are made of #1 plastic which has no BPA. Now if we want to discuss the enviromental impact of bottled water thats another blog (and no recycling the bottles doesn't make up for it although it is important). Can lining however is another issue I have not heard of any way of distinguishing which cans use BPA in the liner and which don't.

schwachmama said...

soda bottles in Cali don't have a # they just say "please recycle"...and I am not sure if there is a way to tell on the can issue...but remember this is from leaching not heating...you might want to check this site out, lots of info but
" * Of all foods tested, chicken soup, infant formula, and ravioli had BPA levels of highest concern. Just one to three servings of foods with these concentrations could expose a woman or child to BPA at levels that caused serious adverse effects in animal tests.
* For 1 in 10 cans of all food tested, and 1 in 3 cans of infant formula, a single serving contained enough BPA to expose a woman or infant to BPA levels more than 200 times the government's traditional safe level of exposure for industrial chemicals. The government typically mandates a 1,000- to 3,000-fold margin of safety between human exposures and levels found to harm lab animals, but these servings contained levels of BPA less than 5 times lower than doses that harmed lab animals."


http://www.ewg.org/reports/bisphenola

schwachmama said...

I also forgot to mention that nalgene bottles use bis-a, even though they say it doesn't pose a risk to human health

AbbeM said...

I too chose the Medela Pump-in-Style breastpump. Not only is the whole thing BPA-free, but it really is great. Yes, kind of expensive, but I've heard numerous people say it will last through more than one kid, everything is together in one handy bag, and storage is easy. Maybe a little expensive, but worth it.

Andrea (Mom to the B's) said...

Just breastfeed, no plastic chemicals to worry about, and no heating required. Braden did use the drop in liner after I stopped breastfeed though! I loved the avent ones but heard the same report and discontinued using them.