Friday, March 14, 2008
BPA and the whole baby bottle issue
I take a deep breath before writing this post as there are just so many twists and turns to this story. For a good starting introduction to BPA, the wiki entry is actually not too bad but it does sort of slant towards the anti-BPA camp.
OK, what is Bisphenol A and what's the concern?
The EWG website states:
BPA is a component of epoxy resins that are used to line food cans and to make hard plastic polycarbonate bottles and containers, popularized by Nalgene and others. It leaches into food, water, and infant formula and has been detected in 93 percent of all Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control. BPA raises special concerns because numerous studies have found it to be toxic at exposure levels equivalent to or even below the amounts detected in people. BPA is linked to breast and prostate cancer and neurobehavioral changes in offspring exposed in the womb.
Thus, if it's leaching into liquids from baby bottles, it can be quite a concern for all parents. However, whether the levels present are really high enough to affect us adversely seems to be still anyone's guess. This article sums up the dilemma we're in when there seems to be research supporting both camps. This rather long detailed article, "The Bisphenol-A Debate: A Suspect Chemical in Plastic Bottles and Cans" from Green Guide (National Geographic) also gives a rather balanced discussion and at least doesn't want to make you run to junk all your reusable water bottles.
The pro BPA crowd, including Bisphenol-A.org (which btw, is supported by the plastics industry) doesn't seem to deny that we are getting the stuff into our bodies but say that the levels are too low for concern.
These two documents, "Toxic Baby Bottles" by Environment California and "Bisphenol A, A known endocrine distruptor" by World Wildlife Fund, suggest that you should not be using anything, especially bottles, with BPA.
While the debate rages and we're waiting for definitive answers, perhaps it may be a good thing to err on the side of caution for baby bottles, especially if it only means switching to glass bottles. Of course, the latter aren't perfect and if you do switch, do be careful of the little 'uns shattering them which may be just as dangerous...
We may also find some of the answers we're looking for from the Health Canana study that is set to be completed in these few months, so this report says.