Decisions, decisions. Should you throw out your old sippy cups and bottles or are they okay to keep using with your young ones? I love all the new sippy cups – the colors the fun Disney designed ones, etc. There’s a much better selection than one year ago, that’s for sure! My question is, do we need to make the switch to BPA free? Should I toss all our old sippy cups and buy new, BPA free ones at our house? It definitely depends who you ask. The FDA said last Tuesday, July 17, 2012 that baby bottles and children’s drinking cups could no longer contain bisphenol A, or BPA, an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical used in some plastic bottles and food packaging.
We’ve long been warned of the potential hazards of BPA, which has estrogen-mimicking properties, so much so that manufacturers voluntarily stopped using it. Manufacturers have already stopped using the chemical in baby bottles and sippy cups, and the F.D.A. said that its decision was a response to a request by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association, that rules allowing BPA in those products be phased out, in part to boost consumer confidence.
BPA is often found in cans and plastics and other types of food packaging. BPA is also found in hundreds of other plastic items, ranging from water bottles to CDs to dental sealants. But the FDA has repeatedly stated that those findings cannot be applied to humans. The federal government is currently spending $30 million on its own studies assessing the chemical’s health effects on humans. SO, essentially the new prohibition does not apply more broadly to the use of BPA in other containers, said an F.D.A. spokesman, Steven Immergut. He said the decision did not amount to a reversal of the agency’s position on the chemical. The F.D.A. declared BPA safe in 2008, but began expressing concerns about possible health risks in 2010, and said there is “some concern” about the chemical’s impact on the brain and reproductive system of infants, babies and young children.
BPA has been used since the 1960s to make hard plastic bottles, cups for toddlers and the linings of food and beverage cans, including those that hold infant formula and soda. Until recently, it was used in baby bottles, but major manufacturers are now making bottles without it. Plastic items containing BPA are generally marked with a 7 on the bottom for recycling purposes.
Interestingly, the chemical can leach into food, and a study of over 2,000 people found that more than 90 percent of them had BPA in their urine. Traces have also been found in breast milk, the blood of pregnant women and umbilical cord blood. Some advocates also pointed out that the decision did not include BPA used in containers of baby formula.
Recent research has linked BPA to behavioral problems in human children. A study last October in Pediatrics found pregnant moms with the highest levels of in their urine were more likely to have daughters who were more aggressive, hyperactive, anxious or depressed. No behavioral effects tied to BPA exposure were seen in boys.
Though the plastics lobby clearly helped to ban BPA, understandably moms and other consumer groups who would not buy plastic products for their babies made life such hell for the plastic companies that the industry had to step in.
Have you gone BPA free and how? Are you using sippy cups or baby bottles that you’d recommend to other parents out there? I know many of you feel strongly about this – let us know your thoughts!
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