Why you really want to avoid plastics for your baby

Plastic has certainly made life more convenient. But that convenience comes at some cost to our health, particularly the health of our babies and children.

You may already buy plastic things that are labeled BPA free. But did you know exactly why BPA is so dangerous? I’ll try to shed a little light here, and perhaps inspire you to look beyond plastics for healthier solutions.

Why the fuss about BPA? What is it, anyway?

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 banned phthalates in toys and children’s products. Now in infant feeding containers BPA is banned in 11 states. The FDA is also considering whether to ban BPA in food packaging.

Over 200 scientific studies have shown that BPA leaches out of common feeding items, leading to long-term health risks.

BPA is an endocrine disrupting substance. To appreciate just how devastating the effects can be, you need to first understand that the endocrine system regulates all biological processes in the body. BPA mimics the hormone estrogen.

The presence of BPA has been linked to brain and behavioral problems, early puberty, cancer, diabetes, childhood obesity, autism, hyperactivity and fertility problems.

Where is BPA found?                                                  

BPA, which stands for bisphenol-A, is used to make certain plastics. It is also found in the lining of most metal cans and on most cash register receipts. When it’s in mom’s system, it makes it’s way to the baby via breastmilk.

A whole host of things may contain these harmful chemicals that could leach into your baby’s system:

  • Nipples on baby bottles
  • Plastic bottles themselves (especially when warm breastmilk is added or the contents are heated)
  • Pacifiers
  • The lining inside of formula cans
  • Plastic teething toys
  • Regular plastic toys that babies handle and put in their mouths
  • Some dental sealants used on children’s teeth

 

There are healthier alternatives to plastic for baby products

What worries me is that legislation is picking substances out one by one from plastics, after the research shows the danger. Which chemical found in plastic will be next?

If you’re keen on avoiding plastics, there are plenty of alternatives:

  • Glass feeding bottles and food storage containers
  • Stainless steel sippy cups (aluminum is often still lined with substances that may contain BPA)
  • Wooden toys for teething and play
  • Silicone or rubber nipples and pacifiers

Silicone is thought to be much safer than plastic, though not everyone is convinced. As a rule of thumb, toss your nipples and pacifiers and get all new ones every month, to avoid breakdown of the substances in silicone, too.

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