Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BPA safety in plastics for your baby

I've heard lots of information about BPA in plastics (aka Bisphenol-A), and a little misinformation. So I figured that it was time to crosscheck these concerns against the other chain-email-brand hysteria about plastics that I have debunked before.

Turns out that there is some right to be concerned about BPA in plastics. BPA was used as a synthetic hormone replacement and is combined with other ingredients to create many of the clear plastics used today. However, not all of the BPA is locked into chemical bonds and so some of it can leech out, especially when heated.

The question then becomes, what level of human safety is there for BPA and what should you do about it? Well, there is a recent rebuke of the FDA methodology that seems to be the most arresting information to date.

Panel Rebukes F.D.A. on Plastic Safety - Well Blog - NYTimes.com  With a link to the PDF written by the panel of scientists.  They found several problems with the FDA methodology.

Bottom line: Infants should not directly use BPA plastics but whether there are effects in larger, more developed adults, is unknown.

Myth #1: Avoid all plastics that have #7 on the bottom. As this note on the Nalgene website points out, the reality is a bit more complex than that:

What does the #7 represent?

The #7 recycling label is a catchall indicator for plastics made with a resin other than those in the #1 to #6 designations, or made of more than one resin. The #7 category not only includes polycarbonate, but also includes compostable plastics made of organic material and other types of plastic that do not necessarily contain BPA (Bisphenol-A). For example, our new Everyday™ line manufactured with Eastman's Tritan™ copolyester is a #7, but does not include BPA.

So, you should be cautious of older plastics with #7, but most likely, new plastics will be specifically marketed as "BPA free" so that you will know if that bottle is okay.

Recent information from a trusted scientific publication, Scientific American:
Just How Harmful Are Bisphenol-A Plastics?: Scientific American

Information from a blog that has a great name:


Some older information from earlier in the year, but lots of timelines from around April 2008 when things started happening, including Nalgene reluctantly pulling their BPA products. Canada was on the verge of declaring BPA a toxin.

Bisphenol A (BPA) information

But beware of the plastics council and other misinformation out there, as this blog posting points out:

Dept. of Propaganda: BPA Facts.org | SierraDescents Blog

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