Tuesday, September 23, 2008

BPA: A threat?

When we began registering for baby products one  year ago, the research surrounding the effects of bisphenol A was beginning to make headline news. Because we had to buy bottles for our baby, we went with BPA-free brand BornFree simply because if we were going to buy new anyway, why not buy BPA-free "just to be safe." But like so many things that I have encountered during my motherhood journey, a mom can make herself crazy worrying about the effects of this plastic, and that paint, and these germs, and those vaccines. Between the controversies, the research, the opinions and the recalls, trying to be the best-mom-that-you-can-be is truly mind-boggling. At times I have tried to take the "we had lead-infested toys when we were kids and we survived" attitude, but it is nearly impossible to ignore all the WATCH-OUT! information inundating parents today.
Bisphenol A, a chemical found in many plastics, continues to receive attention because research has linked it to cancer and brain, reproductive, and immune problems especially when babies and young children are exposed. The research has also shown that this is especially true when plastics containing BPA are heated up. Because so many baby bottles are made of plastic, most bottle manufacturers now make bottles that are BPA-free.
Although we use BPA-free bottles, I have not been as careful with any of the other plastics used in our kitchen. In fact I recently attended a baby shower where the topic of BPA came up, and like a couple of the other moms there, I agreed that we are beginning to make ourselves BPA-free crazy (there were some who disagreed, stating that BPA-free plastics are essential to safe and healthy children). 
But then today I stumbled across this online posting by health editor, Elizabeth Shaw. Shaw believes that products containing BPA should be banned completely from any product intended for use by a child 7-years-old and younger. In fact legislation supporting the ban has been introduced to Congress and is under further review.
Shaw's argument is supported by a recent Journal of the American Medical Association study that links the chemical to heart disease and diabetes. Unlike previous research, this study involved actual human beings, not animals.
Although I will continue to make BPA-free choices for my family when I can, I don't imagine that I'll become too-hyper about the issue just yet (though I would support the bill if it makes it through Congress). And for those of you struggling to do what's best in your household, I will pass on this link: Minimize Your Baby's Exposure to BPA. If you are like me, you do what you can when you can without freaking out about every little thing. It's a struggle to find a balance, and many kudos to those of you who have found that healthy medium.


Colleen said...

alison kay! i love that you are doing this and i am now officially a daily reader of henry's treehouse. what a great way to connect with other moms and stay on top of your area of expertise!

Jess said...

Thanks so much for your research on this. Untill that shower I knew NOTHING about bpa.