Saturday, February 27, 2010

Are we inadvertently harming our babies?

It is hard for a new parent to imagine what parents did before the invent of the plastic, on-the-go sippy cups that have become synonymous with toddlers these days.

One of my goals in my quest to "live natural" is to "go back to basics" (hence the name of my blog). It is my belief that in a lot of ways, going back to the way things used to be done and living natural merge into the same path. However, there are some things to be said for new inventions that make our life easier.

The problem is that many of these so called "wonder inventions" are harming our environment, they are harming our bodies and worst of all...they are harming our children.

I am not against toddlers having sippy cups. I am just against what the manufactures use to make these sippy cups. Most baby bottles and sippy cups are made with polycarbonate plastics and identified by the #7 recycling symbol.

Studies have shown that they may leach Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our bodies.

There is a link between bisphenol-A and phthalates and early onset of puberty. Puberty and Plastics, Dec 2003, Mothering Magazine

Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.

In 2006 Europe banned all products made for children under age 3 containing BPA, and as of Dec. 2006 the city of San Francisco followed suit. In March 2007 a billion-dollar class action suit was commenced against Gerber, Playtex, Evenflo, Avent, and Dr. Brown's in Los Angeles superior court for harm done to babies caused by drinking out of baby bottles and sippy cups containing BPA.

For more of the science on the effects of BPA on our endocrine system etc. see these studies: Environmental Health Perspectives Journal.

What do do?

The first, and best (in my opinion) thing you can do is to get your baby off to a good start by breastfeeding. But even breastfeeding moms still sometimes have a need for bottles. And of course, some women are unable to breastfeed or may not have enough milk, and will have to use bottles to supplement.

I would recommend glass baby bottlesover the standard plastic.

In searching for safe sippy cup alternatives (because I am not about to give my two year old a glass cup to carry around!) I found a couple of sites that have compared the different cups available. You can read about the reviews here and here.

7 comments: said...

Thanks for the link Robyn! Great information and I love the picture you used.

Kristin said...

Thanks for the info.

I wonder about using the kleen kanteen for a bottle -- You could use the avent nipples and avent sells an adaptor that lets you pump from a medela pump into an avent bottle. Any thoughts?

kerc from mdc.

Jeremiah McNichols said...

Thanks for pointing to us. Your readers may also like to know that the ZRecs post you mentioned was updated with a "field test" we did of non-BPA sippys, stainless steel, aluminum, and other plastic types included. We also have an extensive report on BPA in the major brands of bottles.


Thanks for the update Jeremiah! And thank you for sharing your information as well Tiffany. :)

Kristin, that sounds like a good idea! I had not thought of that. The only possible problem I could forsee (and this is reaching) is maybe a reaction between the milk and the stainless steel?

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