Published November 19, 2007
As if parents didn't have enough to worry about with the confusing and seemingly never-ending toy recalls, now comes a new concern: bisphenol A, or BPA, a component of the polycarbonate plastic that makes up many baby bottles and sippy cups, which has shown the potential to cause a variety of health problems. While the Food and Drug Administration has not found reason to ban the chemical, some studies have shown that even low doses of the chemical in lab animals can cause neural and behavioral effects, and possibly lead to obesity, decreased fertility and some cancers. It's enough to get environmental organizations to press for change. "We think it's health-protective to really regulate this chemical to decrease human exposure," says Anila Jacob, senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
If you think it's better to play it safe, here's what you can do to protect your infant:
* Breast-feed if possible.
* Don't heat bottles with liquid in them or put warm liquid into the bottle. Heat can cause the BPA to leach from the bottle into the liquid. Get rid of bottles that are scratched or cloudy. Studies have shown that the more bottles age, the more likely the chemical will leach into what's in the bottle.
* Buy bottles made of glass or of polypropylene or polyethylene. Many manufacturers are now marketing "BPA-free" bottles made with these alternative plastics. Born Free (newbornfree.com) and Sassy Baby (sassybaby.com) are two such companies. Thermos and Luv 'N Care make BPA-free sippy cups (both available at buybuybaby.com).