Parents are often well aware of the more common chemicals that may be in their environment that may harm their children, including asbestos, carbon monoxide, lead, and most pesticides.
Unfortunately, parents often are uninformed about other hazardous chemicals in their child's environment that they also should avoid and may be confused about the risk of some things, like BPA and phthalates in plastic products their kids' use.
Children can become exposed to phthalates by chewing on toys made with phthalates or eating foods stored in packaging made with phthalates. Even breast milk can become contaminated with phthalates if a breastfeeding mother is exposed to phthalates. A child's biggest exposure used to be from teethers, rattles, pacifiers, and bottle nipples made with phthalates.
Is exposure to phthalates something to be concerned about? Unfortunately, the phthalate issue is controversial and hasn't been completely settled yet. To be safe, the AAP reports that, "In the United States and Canada, all phthalates have been removed from infant bottle nipples, teethers, and toys intended for mouthing." The AAP also calls for more research on this issue.
Even now though, phthalates are being detected in the urine of infants exposed to phthalates from lotions, powders, and shampoo, since phthalates are also sometimes an ingredient in some cosmetics and fragrances. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has concluded that "few if any children are at risk" from phthalates because "the amount that they ingest does not reach a level that would be harmful" though.
Bisphenol A (commonly referred to as BPA) is another chemical found in plastics and which can behave similar to estrogen and other hormones in our bodies. This is unlike phthalates, which are found in soft plastic products, BPA is found in hard plastics, like baby bottles and other plastic containers, such as plastic water bottles.
Both the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health and FDA now report that they "have some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children."
Although there is no proof that the amount of BPA that can leach out of a baby bottle or water bottle is dangerous, to avoid BPA, you can switch to glass baby bottles avoid microwaving plastic containers, which may cause BPA to break down and leach out more avoid washing plastic containers in the dishwasher or with harsh detergents, which can also cause BPA to break down and leach out more. Hand wash them instead with a mild detergent.
Switch to BPA-free plastic baby bottles and sippy cups by avoiding plastic containers that have the plastic identification number "7" which can usually be found inside the recycling symbol on their label, which is a sign that it can leach BPA. Look for plastics marked "1" or "Plastic #1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE)" instead. Other plastics you could use to avoid BPA include plastic number 2, 4, or 5.
Many companies are now making BPA free bottles and sippy cups, including Adiri, Avent, Born Free, Gerber, MAM, Medela, Mother's Milkmate, Playskool, SIGG, and Thermos. While some, like Born Free, only make BPA-free versions of their bottles and sippy cups, others make both, so check the labels if you have a BPA bottle or sippy cup.
If that's the case, then hurry over and shop; BPA and phthalate free bottles and sippy cups may be purchased in our online store