Boston Mamas guest contributor Carole Arsenault of Newborn Nurses offers this handy guide on BPA and baby bottles:
BPA (Bisphenol A) is an industrial chemical found in polycarbonate plastic. These plastics are used in many baby products including bottles. The latest research links BPA to possible health problems in humans. Those most vulnerable to the negative effects are infants and young children.
In June 2005, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported in their article Home Toxic Home: ‘In studies, exposing plastic products to the heat of a microwave, dishwasher or hot foods caused more BPA to migrate into food. Heating degrades the chemical bond that holds polycarbonate plastic together. Some studies, however, have detected leaching even at room temperature. Heavily scratched or worn plastic products degrade faster.’
Since the summer of 2005, over 130 studies have examined the effects of BPA on humans. As a result of these studies, BPA has been linked to a variety of health concerns including increased risk of certain cancers, and altered brain development and neurological behavior. Infants, in particular, are at increased risk during critical periods of their development.
To minimize exposure to BPA, the EWG recommends that bottles used by babies should be polycarbonate free. Polypropylene, glass, and polyethylene bottles (#1, 2, and 4) are considered safe. Also, bottles should not be subjected to high temperatures; instead wash them in the sink with warm water and soap and let them air dry.
The good news is that many bottle manufactures are responding to these reports by making BPA-free bottles available to consumers. The following is a summary of bottle brands and their current BPA status (links are included for BPA-free bottles):
1.) Adiri: The new “Natural Nurser” line (stages 1, 2, and 3) is 100% polycarbonate- and BPA-free. Avent: All bottles are made of polycarbonate; moderate BPA levels.
2.) Born Free (5 ounce and 9 ounce): Made with polyamide plastic or glass; BPA-free.
3.) Dr. Brown: Plastic bottles are made with polycarbonate; high levels of BPA.
4.) Glass bottles are safe (BPA-free).
5.) Evenflo: Plastic bottles made with polycarbonate; high levels of BPA.
6.) First Years: Bottles made with polycarbonate; high levels of BPA.
7.) Gerber: Bottles made with polycarbonate; high levels of BPA. Gerber bottles will soon be BPA-free.
8.) Luv ‘n Care: Bottles made with polycarbonate; high levels of BPA.
9.) Medela: All breast pump kits and bottles are BPA-free.
10.) Playtex: Bottles made with polycarbonate; high levels of BPA. Breast milk storage kit made with polypropylene; BPA-free.
11.) Sassy: Currently in the process of phasing out polycarbonate bottles.
12.) Second Nature: Bottles made with polycarbonate, high levels of BPA.