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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What You Need to Know About BPAs

Based on emerging scientific study, there has been a growing scrutiny and concern about products containing Bisphenol-A (BPA) and the health threat it poses for our children. BPA 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 among other things. Many researchers and scientists believe it causes a wide range of health problems, including breast and prostate cancer, infertility, diabetes and brain damage.

While the FDA contends that polycarbonate plastics are not dangerous, major retailers such as Walmart and Toys R Us are phasing out all baby bottles and other feeding products that contain BPAs. Bottle manufacturers are also taking note of parent's concern. Earlier this year, Playtex distributed one million free samples of Playtex Drop-Ins Original Nurser Systems, which are free of BPAs. It also announced that the balance of the product line will be converted to BPA-free material by year end. Dr. Browns will replace up to three bottles per household with their new polypropylene (a BPA-free plastic) bottles. Even Avent, who appears to be the last hold-out, has now released a bottle that is similar to Playtex Nurser Drop-In System. While the outer shell of the bottle is still polycarbonate, the liner is polyethylene, which is a safe plastic, and keeps the liquid from touching any part of the bottle.

So how do you know if you're bottle or other feeding products have BPAs in them? What's more, how do you eliminate BPA's from other products in your home?

Check the number: Look at the recycling symbol on the bottom of your bottle or sippy cup. Polycarbonate plastic is usually marked with a 7. It might sometimes have a PC next to it indicating polycarbonate. But, not all #7's have BPAs and it's almost impossible to know which ones do and don't. Unfortunately many items don't have a recycling symbol on them which means you'll have to call the manufacturer directly and ask them, search their website or check a website such as Z Recommends http://zrecs.blogspot.com which reviews toys and infant products. In their Third Edition on BPA in Infant Care Products they have provided an exhaustive list of each manufacturer and the products that are BPA free. You can even send them a text message to find out information on a particular product.

Check the can: Most cans are lined with plastic that contains BPAs. That means that infant formula is at a high risk. When selecting a formula choose one that is in powdered form rather than liquid as liquid baby formula has some of the highest BPA levels of products tested.

The FDA contends that BPA is safe yet, as a mom, the nagging question remains; "Am I harming my child?" We all want what is best for our family and, if there are options available free of a particular chemical, most moms are saying "rather be safe than sorry."

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