In my last post I shared my first round of conclusions on BPA (the nasty toxic plastic additive you’ll find in just about everything these days). In short, you won’t find anyone who says it’s good for you, so it’s best to keep your consumption of it to a minimum. For those who want to be on the safe side, and who have extra cash laying around, by all means go ahead and swap out all your baby bottles for BPA-free versions, and toss your Nalgenes in favor of stainless steel replacements. For those of us who will need to do a more gradual replacement of the toxic plastic containers in our home, we also learned that the amount of BPA that we ingest can be dramatically reduced (to what most sources consider safe) by not heating the “bad” plastics, i.e. refraining from putting boiling water in them, or sticking them in the microwave.
This morning I was following these guidelines as I fixed my baby girl’s morning bottle. Rather than putting filtered water from my fridge into the bottle and microwaving it as I have been, I instead used warm tap water to make up her breakfast. Then I got to wondering which is worse; Bisphenol-A or LA tap water?
Just how bad is LA tap water? Should a mother be concerned? How can we, where ever we are, find out how safe our drinking water is?
A quick web search landed me at the site for the Natural Resource Defense Council. The study they did titled “What’s On Tap?” had some fairly upsetting things to report. It studied nineteen cities in the US and repeatedly turned up lead, pathogens, arsenic, radon, cancer causing by-products of chlorine treatment and other “toxic chemicals.” Yipes.
You can get a closer look at any of the cities studied, from Seattle to Boston, as an adobe download, though they are a little old at this point – dating from October 2002. Los Angeles got a grade of “fair” for water quality, which I suppose is not terribly surprising. The first thing the LA report says is that the levels of trihalomethanes (TTHMs) are at the maximum allowed limit under new (in 2002) EPA standards. I don’t even know what a TTHM is, but phrases like “health concern” and “risk of cancer” are not encouraging. The report goes on for 24 pages, and doesn’t get any more reassuring.
This will definitely take some further investigating, including finding some more current data. For now I guess I can warm filtered water in a ceramic mug in the microwave, then pour it into the bottle, then make up the formula. It doesn’t sound so bad now, but I’m guessing that at 5:30 in the morning, before my coffee, it might really suck. If any moms out there have a better solution, I would love to hear it.