Parents are becoming increasingly aware of the dangerous products that make their way into our homes these days. These are hidden in places we might never suspect and shockingly they can even be found in products designed for the smallest and most vulnerable members of society, babies.
An industrial chemical called Bisophenol A or BPA is making the headlines all too often. Interestingly it is not getting so much attention because of it hormone-like qualities and dangerous ramifications as it is the fact that it can most commonly be found in products like baby bottles, sippy, cups, and baby formula cans. It is hard to understand why products aimed at babies would contain such harmful ingredients.
What is BPA and what are the dangers?
Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. BPA is used to make lightweight, high-performance plastics that are tough and heat resistant. It is also used to make durable epoxy linings for metal cans. Immediately then you can see the benefit to companies in choosing to use this ingredient for things such as bottles, cups, and formula cans. This chemical has the ability to mimic hormones as well and several studies have linked BPA to weight gain, abnormalities that can lead to breast and prostate cancer, brain damage, abnormal organ development, and hyperactivity. The companies using BPA have declared their products only contain amounts considered safe but this does not address cumulative exposure from all the various products we use that contain BPA. When you consider all of the different products you may use that contain this chemical the exposure level does not appear to be so safe or small. In fact the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has declared that “human exposures are above the current U.S. safety limit.”
What can you do to avoid bottles made with BPA?
The good news is that consumer demand has prompted several companies to refrain from using Bisphenol A in their product formulations. If you baby bottles in the home you can find safe alternatives from companies like Born Free, Nubi, and Green to Grow. They all offer plastic baby bottles that do not contain BPA. Classic glass baby bottles are another good alternative as well. They are quite durable and since they are plastic free they are also BPA free. If you are worried about possible breakage there also a few companies like Siliskin and Wee-Go that sell glass bottles covered with protective silicone sheaths.
In lieu of sippy or toddler cups that commonly contain BPA parents might opt to use stainless steel sippy cups and bottles from Klean Kanteen or Thermos/Foogo. Sigg makes an aluminum alternative with a water based epoxy lining on the inside and a large array of kid friendly designs. You can search for other BPA Free baby bottles and sippy cups online.
Breastfeeding would reduce or even eliminate the need for bottles or formula and subsequent exposure to BPA. For parents that need to use formula though it is hard to find companies that are not using BPA to line their cans of powered or liquid formula. A new study from the Environmental Working Group has discovered that 4 out of 5 formula manufacturers acknowledge using BPA in their formula cans and while some did not acknowledge using BPA, they could not provide documentation of their alternative packaging. Their study also concluded that powdered formula has 8 to 20 times less BPA than liquid formula. So parents who need to use formula should look to powdered formula to reduce overall exposure to BPA.
While BPA exposure should be a concern for parents they can take comfort in the fact that there are a growing number of alternative products that are designed to keep our babies safe.
Read more about how to be BPA Free