How to Avoid BPA in Children’s Products
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that has been used for over 40 years to produce polycarbonate plastics (typically has recycling code #7 or “PC”) and the epoxy resin that lines canned food to prevent the can from rusting and contaminating the food.
How can it harm your child?
There is growing concern about BPA because of its potential to leach into food and drinks and cause health problems. Young children are most at risk because their bodies are in the early stages of development and they have more trouble processing harmful chemicals than older children, teens, and adults.
BPA is considered an endocrine disruptorit mimics the hormone estrogen and affects a person’s endocrine system , which is responsible for regulating the body. Some studies have linked BPA exposure to early puberty, increased risk of diabetes, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, neurodegenerative diseases, and certain cancers including breast cancer.
What can you do to avoid BPA?
Here are some simple steps you can take to minimize your child’s exposure to BPA:
- Purchase BPA-free products. Many brands of infant bottles, sippy cups, utensils and other feeding products are now available without BPA.
- Look for products made from other types of materials, such as wood, ceramic, glass, or even corn.
- For products that contain BPA, throw them away once they are scratched to prevent BPA from being released.
- Look for plastics marked with recycle codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6, which are very unlikely to contain BPA.
- Choose powdered formula instead of liquid since it has been found to not contain BPA.
- If your baby needs liquid formula, pick brands packaged in plastic or glass.
- If you are using liquid formula in cans, do not heat the can on the stove or in boiling water. The formula can be served at room temperature or gently warmed by running warm water over the outside of the bottle.
- Choose BPA-free bottles, which are currently being marketed by most manufacturers, or use glass bottles.
- Make sure that the bottles and containers used to pump and store expressed breast milk are BPA-free.
- Be careful how you heat up breast milk or formula if you are using bottles containing BPA. Do not put boiling or very hot water, infant formula, or other liquids into the bottle while preparing them for your child.
Plastic Containers and Cups
- Never microwave your child’s food or drinks in plastic containers or cups since over time the plastic can break down from over-use and high temperatures, causing BPA to leach out.
- Wash plastics on the top shelf of your dishwasher or by hand.
- When possible, choose glass, porcelain, ceramic or stainless steel containers for storing and heating food.
- Avoid serving canned food to your child. Instead, use fresh or frozen produce, dried beans, dried soups or those packaged in paper boxes, and tomato products packaged in either glass or paper.
- Since young children spend a lot of time putting toys in their mouths, try to choose plastic toys labeled BPA-free or those made from other materials such as wood or cloth.