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Some Baby Bottles Leach Bisphenol A, a Dangerous Chemical

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As if you don’t have enough to think (ie. worry) about, here’s one to give you pause. Your baby’s plastic bottle… whether it contains formula or breast milk…could be dangerous to his health. A study by Environment California found that dangerous levels of a chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA) leaches out of bottles made by Avent, Dr. Brown’s, Evenflo, Gerber and Playtex.
Of course there’s a debate about the safety of BPA. The plastic industry, as expected, says it’s perfectly safe. But others say BPA disrupts hormones and is especially harmful to fetuses and young children.
Here’s a good summary from The Green Guide, a site owned by National Geographic.
Depending on whom you talk to, BPA is either perfectly safe or a dangerous health risk. The plastics industry says it is harmless, but a growing number of scientists are concluding, from some animal tests, that exposure to BPA in the womb raises the risk of certain cancers, hampers fertility and could contribute to childhood behavioral problems such as hyperactivity.
According to its critics, BPA mimics naturally occurring estrogen, a hormone that is part of the endocrine system, the body’s finely tuned messaging service. “These hormones control the development of the brain, the reproductive system and many other systems in the developing fetus,” says Frederick vom Saal, Ph.D., a developmental biologist at the University of Missouri. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can duplicate, block or exaggerate hormonal responses. “The most harm is to the unborn or newborn child,” vom Saal says.
Plastic water and baby bottles, food and beverage can linings and dental sealants are the most commonly encountered uses of this chemical. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay put. BPA has been found to leach from bottles into babies’ milk or formula; it migrates from can liners into foods and soda and from epoxy resin-lined vats into wine; and it is found in the mouths of people who’ve recently had their teeth sealed. Ninety-five percent of Americans were found to have the chemical in their urine in a 2004 biomonitoring study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

So what can you do to keep your family safe? For your baby, consider using glass bottles. Evenflo makes some. The Green Guide (see the sidebar) also has this advice: “Use glass baby bottles or plastic bag inserts, which are made of polyethyelene, or switch to polypropylene bottles that are labeled #5 and come in colors or are milky rather than clear.”
Here are some other safety guidelines from Environment California and from The Green Guide (see the sidebar).

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