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BPA is back in the news. U.S. News World & Report published a very interesting article earlier in the week. According to the article, there’s a new study that sheds even more light to bisphenol A (BPA)– the same chemical found in those rigid plastic bottles that’s been quite the hot topic, especially among moms and dads. Apparently, there’s a link to heart disease and diabetes, and as the report reveals, adults may be at risk.

“The study of more than 1,400 people ages 18 to 74, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those with the largest amount of BPA in their urine had nearly three times the risk of heart disease and more than twice the risk of diabetes as those who had the lowest levels. ”

“Other researchers say there’s enough evidence from previous animal studies to suggest that BPA is harmful to adults.” The article continues to say, Babies, though, are still most at risk. “They’re the most highly exposed to BPA through bottles and formula, so they get more on a per-pound basis.”

Here’s what the FDA says on their site:

Based on our ongoing review, we believe there is a large body of evidence that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects. However, we will continue to consider new research and information as they become available.

Canada has already banned BPA from bottles and various environmental groups among others are calling for a ban in the U.S. California made news recently by initiating, yet failing to pass the Toxin Free Toddlers and Babies Act. The Toxin Free Toddlers and Babies Act can be read about here and here.

Here’s what CNN had to say:

BPA is everywhere, used to make polycarbonate, a rigid, clear plastic for bottles, bike helmets, DVDs and car headlights. It’s also an ingredient in epoxy resins, which coat the inside of food and drink cans. About 93% of Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control had the chemical in their urine. There is no safe level of BPA,” declared Dr. Nancy Snyderman, an NBC medical reporter, on the Today show.

So, what do we do about all this information?  First of all, before you go chucking all your plastic containers in the trash, consider alternatives.  With all these reports and new findings popping up, it’s certainly a topic to pay attention to.  In the meantime, here’s a few ways to avoid BPA courtesy of US News and World Report.

1. Buy your tomato sauce in glass jars.

2. Consume frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned.

3. Purchase beverages in plastic or glass bottles.

4. Use powdered infant formula instead of ready-to-serve liquid.

5. Think in terms of moderation.

Obviously, there are a myriad of ways to avoid excessive exposure to BPA, with the most obvious one as limiting consumption of products with plastic packaging.  Some are say #7 plastic is the number to avoid.  #1, #2 and #4 are the plastics that do NOT contain BPA.

For more resources and info. visit. the Environmental Working Group‘s website.

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I’m not sure if I’ve talked about the love Jack has for his transitional cup. In case I haven’t, let me just say this child LOVES this cup. He thinks it’s so great, he will go on a baby hunger strike if we don’t give him his sippy cup while eating his food. (well, as much as a feisty 6 month old can) While we only fill this “magical” cup up with a few ounces of water to go along with his solids, I can’t grasp why he loves it so much. Perhaps it’s the alarming brightness? Maybe it’s because he’s thinks he’s cool when he uses his “wings” to get the water out? Or maybe it’s because of the novelty of this whole new development— I just don’t know.
Well, whatever it is, I’m glad he loves it as much as we do.

Jack hearts his cupThe kid has awesome foresight and he doesn’t even know it. As a newborn, he rejected some bottles we were given. Those bottles are now confirmed to be grouped in the polycarbonate bottles that are creating a lot of media buzz.
And now, as we turn the corner into 7 months, the kid is so enamored by this wonderful transition cup, which happens to be a Born Free BPA-free sippy cup. It’s one of the most highly regarded baby items in our home right now.

My kid’s foresight aside, the terms, polycarbonate bottles and BPA, have been in the news quite a bit these past few weeks. Just last week, The Today Show did a segment called, The Truth About Bottles. The show overviewed the dangers of certain plastic bottles which contain BPA.
That show created so much hysteria buzz, they did a follow up segment the next day to clarify some questions.

This report about Nalgene bottles being pulled made me feel the need to post the stuff I’ve found over the past few months as a new mom. But most importantly, The Times reported today that Canada is at the forefront and is moving toward banning bottles with BPA.

The health minister, Tony Clement, told reporters that after reviewing 150 research papers on B.P.A. and conducting its own studies, his department concluded that the chemical posed the most risk for newborns and children up to the age of 18 months. The minister said that animal studies suggest “there will be behavioral and neural symptoms later in life.”

This talk about polycarbonate bottles and BPA is not new news. Many researchers and blogs have been talking about it for years. It just so happens that it’s permeating mainstream media outlets and now, consumers are starting to pay more attention.

The GreenGuide said:

A 1999 study of polycarbonate baby bottles published in the Japanese Journal of Health Sciences found that new bottles, washed gently before using, leached 3.5 ppb of BPA into water, while extremely worn and scratched bottles leached levels of BPA as high as 28 ppb. Another 1999 Consumer Reports analysis found that BPA migrated from polycarbonate baby bottles into simulated formula when the formula was boiled inside the bottle for 20-30 minutes. And several scientific studies have reported that bisphenol-A can leach from plastic when heated, exposed to acidic solutions or after prolonged use. And baby bottles aren’t the only place BPA is found, a 2007 survey done by the Environmental Working Group found the chemical in formula as well.

HealthyChild.org, a nonprofit organization who are dedicated to protecting the health and well being of children from harmful environmental exposures, say:

Since the late 1990s, there have been allegations that the chemical industry has distorted science to show that BPA poses no threat to human health. The allegations of bias have carried over to the government’s current evaluation.

When we’re bombarded by so many tests, research and reports, what are we, as consumers, supposed to do? While we all try not to over-parent, I do believe its in our best interest to be educated consumers. As the saying goes, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

As the reports and research are flooding in, what does it all mean? I’m no expert here, but my livelihood depends on thorough research. And as always, I need to understand.

My personal research dates back to August 2007, just weeks before the boy was born. There’s a ton of research and reports out there, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed. So what does it all mean? Here is what I found:

What is BPA?

The Center for Health, Environment and Justice define Bisphenol-A (BPA) as a high-volume production chemical used to make epoxy resin and
polycarbonate plastic products, including some kinds of water bottles, baby bottles, and food storage and heating containers. It is also used in the lining of metal food cans and in dental sealants, and is an additive to certain plastics used in children’s toys. The chemical was first developed as a synthetic estrogen and was later polymerized to produce polycarbonate.

How is BPA harmful?

Bisphenol-A mimics estrogen activity and is known as an “endocrine disruptor,” a chemical that interferes with the hormonal system in animals and humans and contributes to adverse health effects. Bisphenol-A also causes a variety of impacts through mechanisms of action that are
probably unrelated to estrogenic properties.environment california

Bisphenol A is a developmental, neural, and reproductive toxicant, Environment California says. From their thorough report, Toxic Baby Bottles, they found that:

* Scientists have linked very low doses of bisphenol A exposure to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity, among other problems.
* For example, in one recent study, a single, low dose of bisphenol A administered to a newborn rat resulted in hyperactive behavior.
* Bisphenol A is most commonly used to make clear polycarbonate plastic for consumer products, such as baby bottles. Through use, this plastic breaks down and leaches bisphenol A into liquids and food to which it comes into contact.

* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found bisphenol A in the urine of over 95% of people they tested.
* Alarmingly, the median level of bisphenol A in humans is higher than the level that causes adverse effects in animal studies.

What do we do?

Environment California says,

Parents have the right to know about chemicals in the products they purchase for their children. In the absence of good government regulations, but armed with the knowledge that some chemicals are a cause for concern, parents can take a few simple actions to limit their child’s exposure to these and other toxic chemicals.
At the store, parents should select baby bottles that are made from glass or a safer non-polycarbonate plastic. At home, parents should avoid washing plastic dishware with harsh dishwashing soap and hot water, which may allow chemicals to leach out of the plastic.

Environmental Working Group makes these suggestions:

Nipple: Start with a clear silicone nipple.
Latex rubber nipples can cause allergic reactions and can contain impurities linked to cancer.
Bottle: Use glass.
Plastic bottles can leach a toxic chemical called bisphenol A (BPA)
into formula. Avoid clear, hard plastic bottles marked with a 7 or “PC.”
Water: Use filtered tap water.
If your water is fluoridated, use a reverse osmosis filter to remove fluoride, which the American Dental Association recommends avoiding when reconstituting formula. If your water is not fluoridated use a carbon filter. If you choose bottled water make sure it’s fluoride-free.

What is being done?

The government said they are investigating BPA in Infant Formula Liners, but much more needs to be done. Most importantly, Canada has banned the BPA bottles. It was also reported in the Times that NY Senator Charles E. Schumer, said in a statement that he intended to introduce a bill that would create a widespread ban on B.P.A.-related plastics. It would prohibit their use in all children’s products as well as any product use to carry food or beverages for adults.

What is safe?

As EWG suggests, avoid clear, hard plastic bottles marked with a 7 or PC. so what baby bottles does that leave? I know Born Free, Green to Grow, thinkbaby Bottles and Medela Storage System are all safe.
The Soft Landing, one of my favorite blogs, has done some great reports. The recently posted Learning Your Way Around BPA.

ZRecs, another of my must-read resource blogs, has a great lineup of safe(r) bottles and cups.

And if you need even more links, here are even more sites that I’ve compiled:

Plastic Chart
Bisphenol-A Free.org
ABC report on BPA
The Green Guide
Breastfeeding Blog
Chicago Tribune’s Julie Deardorff

Mama Knows Breast
Nature Moms
Baby Bargains-BPA Free Product suggestions
Plastic Bottles Suck- Babble
Baby 411 consumer alert