No one is more susceptible to the effects of toxins than a baby. With their rapidly dividing cells, exposure to the toxins found in air, food and water can more easily result in DNA damage that could lead to a cancer later in life. This is why there is so much concern about bisphenol A, or BPA, in baby bottles. BPA is a chemical used in the manufacture of plastics and resins and is commonly used to make baby bottles. There’s been concern that BPA could leech into liquids placed in the bottles, particularly when they’re heated. This was subsequently confirmed by studies. Some manufacturers have responded by developing BPA free baby bottles and other baby items. Unfortunately, as a recent study shows, these bottles may not live up to their claim.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Health Canada found small amounts of BPA in a series of nine different brands of baby bottles which were advertised as being free of BPA. Although the amounts found were “trace”, it’s still created concern among consumers. Health Canada quickly responded by attributing the BPA in the BPA free baby bottles to cross-contamination during manufacturing and emphasized that these small amounts should post no health concern. The spokesperson for one company that manufactures one of the problematic BPA free baby bottles, stated that independent testing had shown his product to be completely free of BPA.
It may not be clear whether BPA free baby bottles are actually free of BPA, although it does appear that amounts are significantly lower than those found in conventional plastic baby bottles that aren’t advertised as BPA free; but is it enough? Even trace amounts of BPA in a baby bottle could be a problem when the bottle is heated which makes it easier for the BPA to leach into the liquid.
There seems little doubt that BPA exposure is a problem, particularly for babies. In animals studies, BPA has been show to exert negative effects on health even at low doses. There’s concern that this chemical could have hormone-like effects in infants and children and could affect brain development. BPA has been shown to have estrogen-like activity in animals which could increase a baby’s risk of breast cancer later in life.
Is it really safe to buy BPA free baby bottles and other baby items? It’s difficult to say on the basis of a single study. One way to avoid the problem is to use glass baby bottles and powdered formula rather than formula in cans. Most cans are lined with a resin that contains BPA. It can be a challenge to find glass baby bottles, but at least you’ll have the reassurance of knowing they’re completely free of BPA.