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Bisphenol-A Baby Bottle Blues

9 December 2007

I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon of every “consumer alert” report that says you should throw out everything in your house that isn’t from organically grown products made by a cloister of eunuchs in a hermetically-sealed biodome in the virgin forests of the Amazon.  I have managed to make it through my pregnancy and eight weeks of newborn-learning without driving myself insane wondering if everything I touch, ingest and breathe is going to permanently harm my child.  But when information comes along like the recent news about Bisphenol-A and polycarbonate plastics used to make baby bottles and other baby products, you’d be kind of nuts to not consider taking it seriously. 

Biph18535enol-A is a chemical compound used to make a wide variety of plastic products.  It was actually considered for use as a synthetic estrogen in the 1930s, but instead became the most widely used chemical in the production of plastics including PVC and other polycarbonates.  It gained wide popularity for use in baby bottles because of its shatter-resistant properties.  It is also used in the lining of canned food, including canned formula. 

Recent studies show that the levels of BpA in infants who are fed canned formula from polycarbonate bottles are higher than those levels found lab animal studies.  When bottles are washed, heated and filled with liquid, the chemical leaches out of the plastic over time, contaminating the contents and, subsequently, the baby.

As these are relatively new revelations, there is a lot of controversy over the studies and what levels are considered “safe” by the U.S. government — namely, the FDA, which holds a notorious track record for relying on and sponsoring industry-biased studies.  The side effects of BpA exposure include obesity, diabetes, early-onset puberty, cancer, and hyperactivity.  Interesting how the growth rate of those diseases are increasing exponentially in children and young adults these days.

Even though I’m primarily breastfeeding (Keyven probably averages less than one bottle per week), that will change a bit when I start school and he sees a sitter part-time so it concerns me.  Thankfully, even full-time formula-feeding moms have options to eliminate this product from their babies’ systems. 

Although it’s probably less convenient, using powdered formula instead of canned eliminates the exposure from can linings.  This is also something to keep in mind with the addition of solid foods to baby’s diet since all canned food linings contain some amount of BpA.  In addition to fresh food, use glass jars exclusively, or at least whenever possible. 

glass_baby_jarA number of companies already offer or are starting to offer bottles and sippy cups made from polyamide or polypropylene or even glass.  There are now several excellent sources that list the major brands and which of their bottles are safe so you can check your bottles out.  If, like me, you find you’re using BpA bottles, you can browse the ever-growing selection of replacement options.  I decided to order our new bottles from Born Free, a small company with reportedly excellent customer service, an extensive knowledge of BpA dangers and a commitment to providing safe products to consumers.  I really encourage you to do your own research, check your baby’s bottles and sippy cups, and make replacements.  When you’re giving or getting shower gifts, please do yourself or the mom-to-be a favor and make sure you’re giving her BpA-free products as well. 

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 10 December 2007 15:32

    this is something to consider and research with all food containers in the house.. not just baby bottles! =)

  2. Amanda permalink
    10 December 2007 17:28

    The FDA does have a terrible track record. They said thalidomide was safe too, and look how that turned out.

    This summer I threw out my relatively new polycarbonate water bottle and replaced it with a metal one by a Swedish company called Sigg They even make ones small enough for toddlers and they keep your water cool.

    Down with xenoestrogens!

  3. Marge permalink
    11 December 2007 00:07

    Ah, what goes around… we of the older generation used glass bottles for our expressed breast milk, and it was just beginning to be SO passe: ( plastic doesn’t break,etc) Like, how many bottles did we really break while feeding our babies?
    Good for you, keeping up on these dangers, and for anything to do with babies: I think, is if nature made it, fine: if science made it, do your research!

  4. 11 December 2007 00:54

    Yup, I’m really trying to be more conscious of other bad-plastics as well. Here’s a link to a Green Guide article on the “safe” plastics. Just remember that 2, 4 & 5 are okay. Also, another easy preventive method for is to avoid microwaving in plastic in general, even if it’s “microwave safe.”

    Funny you should mention the glass baby bottle thing — I was wondering myself, “How many bottles could you POSSIBLY break just feeding a baby?” I’d rather risk breaking one in a moment of clumsiness than poison my kid. Thank goodness my mom used the bottle with the little plastic bag inserts, which are also considered safe because they’re not polycarbonates.

  5. HanaPipers permalink
    8 February 2012 01:52


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