Q&A: Is BPA (Bisphenol A) in plastic baby bottles dangerous?
I'm nervous about everything I've read about BPAs and phthalates in bottles. Do I really need to switch to glass bottles? Is my baby at risk for getting sick because she's used plastic for a year?
It seems like every time you turn around there is something else to be alarmed by! For new moms and dads, it can be nerve-wracking keeping up with all the headlines. Let’s try to keep this concern as simple as possible.
BPA (Bisphenol A) and phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) are chemicals used in plastics. BPAs are used most commonly to manufacture hard plastics, while phthalates help make plastic toys soft and flexible. BPAs are thought to cause problems when bottles are heated and with long-term use. (Learn more about common parent concerns of them here.)
There is controversy among the plastics industry and researchers. Plastics manufactures say that the research alarming people involves using large quantities of the plastics—more than the average person would come into contact with. Researchers say these plastics can and do affect humans. According to the National Institutes of Health, based on research done with animals there is “limited evidence that Bisphenol A has adverse effects on development” and furthermore, “there is some concern for neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures.” (Read more about pregnancy and BPAs.)
Since there seems to be no universal conclusion, erring on the side of caution may be the way to go. Start using glass or plastics that are BPA-free. If you choose to continue using the bottles you have, make sure you don’t heat them in the microwave or was them with harsh detergents, which are both thought to make the BPA leach from the plastic. Bottle manufacturers are aware that people are concerned and are now labeling their products to make it easy.
When new research like this becomes available to parents, it can bring on feelings of guilt and fear that we may have harmed our children or ourselves. Instead of dwelling on what you did, take steps to move forward. Talk to your pediatrician for his or her advice on this controversial topic.