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Are Plastics Harmful to Our Health?

By May 1, 2008 - 1:17pm
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I am wondering what everyone thinks about the newest media attention on a relatively old situation: plastics emitting potentially harmful chemicals.

Are you throwing out your baby bottles, water bottles and other plastics that meet the criteria of being potentially harmful? (From what I've read, the "criteria" includes the hard [non-malleable], see-through plastic containers. I haven't seen any other---credible---sources for what the "criteria" is).

Basically, my understanding is that we have always known that plastics emit chemicals when heated. What was recently discovered is that Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics is released 55 times faster when exposed to boiling water. Other sites are suggesting that hot water, including dishwashing, can cause this chemical to be emitted faster.

BPA in small doses and quantities may/may not be harmful to adults, but the fear is in infants' being exposed through baby bottles (presumably because that would be a high dose and quantity, since they would drink from the bottle every 2 hours...if exclusively bottle-fed, of course). What if we hand-wash the bottles...are they safe (or just safer?)

Recently, if you conduct a quick online search for water bottles, you will find many advertisements for "BPA-free" bottles.

Is this new media-hype on an old issue (the original study was published in 2007...meaning it was conducted even earlier). Are BPA and polycarbonate bottles really harmful, to both adults and infants? How do you know which plastics have BPA or polycarbonate in them?

Plastics have made our lives so much more convenient (try for a few days to NOT use any plastic product--you wouldn't be able to use a computer!). I guess I'm frustrated; in my quest for well-being, it seems like there is something else to be afraid of or to avoid. Plus, this study was conducted in Jan 2007; why are we just hearing about it now (is there a more recent study)?


Add a Comment4 Comments

After hearing the news -- which I do remember hearing a while ago -- we haven't done anything differently in terms of our usage. However, I don't have an infant at home to worry about. A few weeks ago, we found some info from the government and that they are reviewing the safety of these chemicals. For more information, you can view that post here.


May 1, 2008 - 2:12pm

A friend sent me a forwarded e-mail on this issue that stated that there is no danger in using plastic bottles of any kind (drinking water, baby bottles, etc.) and that this all started from a graduate student's master thesis that was never actually proven.

I'm not sure what to think of this, but here's the link to the article on how this is all just stuff of urban legend.... http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/petbottles.asp

May 1, 2008 - 2:05pm

I am very concerned about this. I just heard from a friend that even when a bottle (or sippy cup) with milk is at room temperature or cold the natural fats in the milk pull the toxins out. Have you heard about this? Any thoughts on whether this is true or not? Anyone know what bottles and sippy cups are safe to use now?

May 1, 2008 - 2:02pm
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