And now, it seems, toxins are leaching from plastic baby bottles into the infant’s formula.
In the latest assault on plastics widely used in consumer products, a coalition of advocacy groups says that heating plastic baby bottles releases harmful quantities of Bisphenol A (BPA) into the milk.
“The last thing a busy parent needs to worry about is finding a baby bottle that doesn’t leach toxic additives,” said Lindsay Dahl of the Minneapolis-based Healthy Legacy.
The group said 95 percent of all plastic baby bottles — and even the popular “sippy” cups — contain BPA, and the danger of leaching increases if containers are cleaned in a dishwasher or with harsh detergents scoured that cause tiny scratches on the inside surface. Dahl said it’s best to clean bottles with soapy warm water and a sponge or, still better, go with glass bottles.
Best way to tell if the bottles you’re using contain BPA, look on the bottom or underside of the bottle for the number 7 or “PC”.
Two Minnesota DFL legislators, Sen. Sandy Rummel of White Bear Lake and Rep. Karen Clark of St. Paul, want to go farther: they’ve introduced bills to phase out BPA and phthalates from products used by young children. Earlier, the legislators and Healthy Legacy voiced concern about hazards of plastics in toddler toys.
BPA is a synthetic sex hormone that mimics estrogens and is linked to obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Phthalates, used as make PVC products flexible, are linked to reproductive and respiratory complications.
Concern over hazards caused by PVC and other plastics has prompted a congressional study and legislation in at least nine states to regulate substances that are increasingly shown to cause exposure to toxics. Earlier, Sears announced that it would join Microsoft and retail giants Target and Wal-Mart in phasing out use of PVC plastics widely used in products and packaging (the clear, hard stuff that is universally cursed as difficult to open).
At a St. Paul press conference this morning, Healthy Legacy and 14 national advocacy groups released a report that 10 new bottles manufactured by Avent, Gerber, Playtex and Dr. Brown leached harmful quantities of BPA when heated, as most are warmed up in microwave ovens before feeding. Leach rates tend to increase as bottles are cleaned and reused.
Dahl said that parents may avoid BPA and other exposures by using glass or polypropylene bottles (the #5 plastic), heating milk or formula in glass or ceramic then pour the liquid into the bottles, cut back on consumption of canned foods and beverages that often are coated with materials containing BPA.