Baby Bottles

A popular plastic that is used to make products like suitcases, digital media (CDs, DVDs) and eye glasses is also used to make baby bottles. This plastic is called polycarbonate plastic and is marked by the number “7” (and letters PC or Other). Polycarbonate plastic tends to be hard and in many cases, manufacturers add a synthetic chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA) to soften the plastic. BPA can also be found in polyvinyl chloride or plastics marked by the number “3” plastic. In the last couple of years, science has emerged linking BPA to a range of health impacts including cardiovascular disease, miscarriages, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive dysfunction, neurological and behavioral disorders, metabolic dysfunction, and diabetes.

Due to emerging science and concerns raised by parents, many governments moved to adopt voluntary or mandatory bans on BPA containing baby bottles and sippy cups. Following a successful ban on children’s products containing phthalates, San Francisco passed the Resolution Urguing Reducing Exposure to Bisphenol A in 2008, urging local hospitals and retailers to voluntarily discontinue the sale of BPA containing baby bottles and sippy cups. Today, the momentum generated by parents and governments has successfully lead to BPA bans in Canada, The European Union, China and eleven US states - California being the latest addition with the passage of the Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act AB 1319. Once this legislation becomes effective in January 2013, parents will only have BPA free options to choose from. But until then, it is important to read product labels and choose BPA free products.

While the ban of BPA use in baby bottles and sippy cups presents a huge victory, it is only the first step in reducing our exposure. BPA is still used in several other children’s and adult products. For instance, canned food (including liquid infant formula), dental sealant, aluminum food cans, artificial teeth, electrical equipment and even credit card receipt paper, all contain BPA. In fact, BPA is such a pervasive chemical that it has been detected in the urine of 93% of adults tested by the CDC. Unfortunately, BPA is not always listed on the labels of food and beverage packaging. However, the Breast Cancer Fund has tested for BPA in food packaging and provided recommendations based on test results.

In addition to choosing safer products, we also need to advocate for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) legislation that will disallow use of toxic chemicals in our food packaging and supply including baby bottles, sippy cups, infant formula, food and beverage cans.

Additional Information for Baby Bottles

National Institute of Health
Questions and Answers about Bisphenol A
Breast Cancer Fund
BPA Chemical Glossary
Consumer Reports
Baby bottle buying guide