Five months ago I asked my baby’s pediatrician whether I should be worried about BPA in his bottles, and his response was “there’s nothing to be concerned about.” I wonder if he would give me that same answer today! Since the 1950’s when BPA, the chemical bisphenol A, started appearing in more products such as the epoxy linings of cans and polycarbonate bottles, scientists have known about its potential health risks and estrogenic effects. However, these risk have often been dimissed as being insignificant because of the low dose of BPA leaching out of these materials and the speed with which humans metabolize it.
However, when 38 leading toxicology experts said there is “some” concern about the current epidemiological effects of BPA in their consensus statement published in Reproductive Toxicology http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/newscience/2007/2007-0801bpaconsensus.pdf, concerned parties worldwide finally had more than a little scientific backing and the media took the issue to the frontlines. Now everybody is talking about BPA and there is little doubt about the negative health effects on wildlife, humans, and most significantly, infants. Yet there are still a lot of unanswered questions due to the finicky nature of this chemical, and how it impacts us in a wide range of ways depending on the dose, the life stage of the person, and what other chemical exposures exist.
What can you do to reduce your exposure as well as your baby’s? First, steer clear of canned food – especially if pregnant or breastfeeding.. Yep, according to the Environmental Working Group canned food accounts for 99% of childhood exposure http://www.ewg.org/node/20933. The worst offenders are infant formula, soup, vegetables, pasta, and meal replacements. Secondly, check hard plastics for recycling #7, which means it is likely to have BPA in it. If you must use these plastics, don’t microwave , put them in the dishwashwer, or put hot foods or liquids in them as heat breaks down the chemical bonds and releases BPA more quickly. If the item has scratches throw it away. Finally, baby bottles made of glass are chemically the safest, but there are also alternative plastics. http://zrecs.blogspot.com/2008/02/z-report-on-bpa-in-infant-care-products.html has some fun reviews of BPA-free products. Finally, stay in tune as Walmart, Target, and other key retailers ban BPA from their baby product shelves and offer more BPA-free choices.