What is Bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A is a hormone-mimicking chemical used in polycarbonate plastics (PC or identified as #7 recycling code) and resins commonly used for items such as shatterproof baby bottles. Bisphenol has estrogenic properties which, in animal tests has shown to cause a bevy of health problems such as an increase in prostate and breast cancer, uro-genital abnormalities in male babies, a decline in semen quality in men, early onset of puberty in girls, metabolic disorders including insulin-resistant (Type 2) diabetes and obesity and neurobehavioral problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Research is showing that when plastic containers, mostly those used to hold liquids and foods, are leeching Bisphenol into the foods and liquids they are holding. Heating food and liquids with these plastics is shown to increase the leeching of this contaminate.
Many companies use this chemical in their packaging including cans, soda cans, and plastic food containers. There is a risk of absorbing this chemical through the use of containing foods and liquids but can also leech into our water systems through landfills.
Many leading experts argue that the use of Bisphenol is safe to the human public but research may begin to further prove otherwise.
If you're unfamiliar with what is being said about BPA and bottles... here is a "Crash Course" from the Safemama.com website:
- What is BPA? BPA or Bisphenol-a is a chemical used mostly in polycarbonate plastics (PC), which are used in: baby bottles, sippy cups, sports bottles, canned food / formula lining, and jar food lids. Greeeat. (feel my thick sarcasm?)
- How do I know if something is made with PC? Flip the item over and look for a recycling symbol on the bottom. It looks like a triangle of arrows with a number between 1 - 7 in the center. Polycarbonate plastic is usually marked with a 7. It might sometimes have a PC next to it indicating polycarbonate.
- Why should I avoid BPA? Bisphenol-a is a known endocrine disruptor. Meaning it has estrogenic properties which, in recent animal tests has shown to cause a bevy of health problems such as;
- precancerous tumors
- uro-genital abnormalities in male babies,
- a decline in semen quality in males,
- early onset of puberty in females,
- So, do my Avent / Dr. Browns baby bottles have BPA? If they are the traditional hard clear plastic ones that millions of people use? Most likely, YES. Want to check which bottles are not made with polycarbonate plastic (PC)? We have a growing list of bottles, sippy cups, milk storage and other items available:
- What if my item has no recycling code on it? Welcome to our hell! There is no way of knowing unless you a) Find it on the “BPA Free lists” or call the company the product is made by and ask them what kind of plastic it is. We wish it was easier than that, believe us.
Research is showing that when plastic containers, mostly those used to hold liquids and foods, are leeching Bisphenol into the foods and liquids they are holding. Heating food and liquids with these plastics is shown to increase the leeching of this contaminate. Bottom line: It’s icky and if you don’t want to chance it on your precious kids, there are ways to avoid it.
I'm really at a loss as to what to think. When I first read about BPA I was concerned... and I looked into it and contemplated tossing all the Avent bottles that I used with Porter (they do contain BPA... Avent has released a materials chart, although they will be going BPA free by the end of 2008) . But then I started to think... Porter drank from those bottles and he's fine (so far)... and honestly, our world is laced in toxins and we can't shelter our children from everything. So, I figured I'd keep them. Well, now I'm reading more and more about how Canada is banning all BPA products, and by the end of 2008 Toys R Us and Walmart will sell only BPA free products. Its making me wonder...
I mean... these kinds of plastics are everywhere: Bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, shampoo bottles, lotion bottles (all sorts of kids skincare products), food storage, water bottles etc etc etc... the list goes on. Is it really a concern? Or is it just a bunch of hype? I mean, we weren't concerned with this 20 years ago... but then again its scary to think of all the young and middle aged people with terrible diseases like cancer and the like and there are no surefire "causes" to cancer. Maybe there is some truth to the BPA scare?
Here is one link that was interesting: BPA Timeline: from invention to phase out
What do you think? I'd love to hear all your opinions, and especially if there are any readers out there that know more about plastics and the effects on the body.
For those interested, or concerned with BPA... here are a few articles I've bookmarked "just in case" I decide to take caution and go BPA free..