Toxic Baby Bottles?

baby drinks milk from a bottle CBS/The Early Show

Common baby bottles sold across North America contain "very significant" levels of a chemical linked to infertility and cancer, according to a report released by a coalition of scientists and environmental-health advocacy groups.

The chemical bisphenol A, which is a synthetic hormone that can leech out of certain plastic when heated, turned up in nine different polycarbonate bottles commonly sold in Canada by three different manufacturers.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is used to make hard polycarbonate plastic, and can be found in many items, including hard plastic bottles and in a lining of tin or aluminum cans.

The report claims 95 percent of all baby bottled contain BPA, a number which is referenced as according to ScienceNews.org.

"The only appropriate response to evidence that a known toxic chemical leaches from baby products is to phase it out and replace it with safer products in order to prevent harm wherever possible," report author Mike Schade said in a release. "Environmental health organizations from across the U.S. are calling for an immediate moratorium on the use of BPA in baby bottles and other food and beverage containers."

According to the report, Baby's Toxic Bottle: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular Brands of Baby Bottles, "Bisphenol A is a developmental, neural, and reproductive toxicant that mimics estrogen and can interfere with healthy growth and body function. Animal studies demonstrate that the chemical causes damage to reproductive, neurological and immune systems during critical stages of development, such as infancy and in the womb."

Exposure to BPA is widespread, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that 95 percent of Americans tested have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. A recent study shows that BPA levels are lowest in adults, mid-range in adolescents and highest in children.

Read the entire report here. (20 pgs.)
The results of the U.S. study show that, when new bottles are heated, those manufactured by Avent, Evenflo, Dr. Brown's and Disney/First Years leach levels of BPA that raise alarms.

Major retailers including Toys"R"Us, CVS, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart sell baby bottles that leach BPA, according to the report.

According to a separate report from Environment California Research & Policy Center, experiments on animals link exposure to BPA at very low doses to serious health problems including:
  • prostate and breast cancer
  • early onset of puberty
  • obesity
  • hyperactivity
  • lowered sperm count
  • miscarriage
  • diabetes
  • altered immune system

    What can worried parents do?

    The coalition that released the report suggests trying to reduce a child's exposure by using glass or polypropylene bottles - which usually have a "7" or "PC" on the underside - rather than polycarbonate. If you continue to use polycarbonate bottles, you can:

  • Hand-wash the bottles, keeping them away from harsh detergents or scouring bristles, both of which can scratch the surface and unleash more chemicals.
  • Avoid heating food in the containers.
  • Avoid use of infant formulas or canned foods that come in containers lined in polycarbonates.
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