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Toxic Baby Bottles: A Risk of Cancer

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Did you know that a common chemical used in the manufacture of plastics has been linked with cancer and numerous other conditions? The chemical, Bisphenol-A, or BPA, has been used to make plastic baby bottles for decades and has put billions of people throughout the world, who were bottle fed, at risk of cancer, hormone disorders and infertility.

BPA is in many other products from DVD's to resin, but its use in baby bottles is particularly concerning because when BPA heats up, it can leach out of the bottle and end up in formula milk to be ingested by the baby, causing tissue damage, hormone disruption and increasing the risk of developing cancer in later life.

While much thought has been given to the immunological and psychological benefits of breast feeding, little consideration has been given to the impact of using plastic bottles to feed a baby.

What is an endocrine disruptor?

The endocrine system is the system of hormones and glands throughout the body that regulate all of the body's functions such as growth, thyroid function, normal brain development and sexual development, including things like controlling menstruation and ovulation and levels of sexual desire. The endocrine system is a delicate balance of hormones working in harmony to bring all the different systems together. If a chemical disrupts this process, this is called an endocrine disruptor. Bisphenol-A is a known endocrine disruptor. It mimics the female hormone estrogen and when given in low levels to rats, caused changes in their brain function and personality, making them display more anxious behaviors.

A government report on BPA exposure said, "Infants and children have higher intakes of many widely detected environmental chemicals because they eat, drink and breathe more than adults on a pound for pound basis. In addition, infants and children spend more time on the floor than adults and may engage in certain behaviors, such as dirt ingestion or mouthing of plastic items that can increase the potential for exposure."


Studies of BPA exposure in rats also found a link to cancer, pre-cancerous lesions and early onset of puberty in female rats.

Add a Comment3 Comments

I hope so. I'm pretty sure they've banned BPA bottles in Canada. Not sure about US, or where I'm from, UK. I know when my eldest daughter was born in 1996 I could not breast feed her due to a birth injury. I was really ill the first 2 to 3 weeks after she was born so she was cared for by her dad and by the time I recovered, I had no milk left so she got bottles that were probably loaded with BPA so of course I don't know if that would affect her fertility or risk of getting cancer in adulthood.

I think companies should be more responsible about the types of chemicals they are using in products, particularly products meant for babies.

January 6, 2010 - 9:04am

Thanks Joanna,

I believe that most baby bottles being sold now are BPA-free. I know that I have three different bottle brands including Avent, Playtex, and Nuk and all are BPA-free. It is a pretty huge issue and many moms refuse to purchase any plastics that are not BPA- free so all of these manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon.

January 6, 2010 - 6:06am
HERWriter Guide

Great information, Joanna, thanks so much! It's pretty incredible how many carcinogens are part of our everyday lives. The more we know about them, the better! Pat

January 5, 2010 - 5:32pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.