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Are Plastics Really Evil?

Some argue that they’ve been around for a long time, and we, as adults, seem to have turned out just fine. At the same time, others argue that modern versions of plastics, containing such chemical as Bisphenol-A (BPA), DEHA, and phthalates can cause developmental problems, tumors, kidney damage, and early sexual maturation in young girls. Before we buy the hype (and the expensive “safe” alternatives), let’s do a little investigating of our own.

Let’s start with Bisphenol-A (pronounced Bisfenal A or BPA for short), the plastic found in most plastic drinking bottles, including sports bottles and almost all baby bottles. In my online searching I have yet to find a source that argues that BPA is not harmful. Even the Bisphenol-A website doesn’t claim that the substance is benign. The main debate seems to be at what level of exposure humans are experiencing a truly adverse effect. (For an interesting discussion of BPA consumption check this out.)

So it would seem, especially for those of us who have weaned our little ones entirely to the bottle, that an investment in BPA-free baby bottles would be a wise choice (check out the Born Free bottles at They do cost more, but even switching out a few of your bottles could make a difference. Personally, I bought two of them (for about $22), and try to use them the most. Even if you’re breastfeeding (and avoiding plastic baby bottles all together) it is best to keep your own consumption of BPA to a minimum (as it does seem that BPA can migrate into breast milk).

So how can we lessen the amount of BPA we ingest?

A study released in January of this year done by the folks at the University of Cincinnati concluded that temperature seemed to be the biggest factor in how much of the BPA in a plastic container was transferred to the water it contained. In short, don’t put boiling water in plastic containers, and don’t microwave your plastic. That seems easy enough.

At the Bisphenol-A website however, the (anonymous) authors state that the elevated BPA levels observed in the UC study were used to create a BPA “scare,” and that “polycarbonate bottles are still safe for use.” Though I do agree that plastic bottles do seem to be generally safe to use (assuming you don’t add boiling water), I remain skeptical of, simply because they offer no information as to who is behind it. My mind conjures up an image of a little cartoon BPA molecule frantically blogging in an attempt to clear its name. He shakes his fist in the air; “I’m innocent, I tell you!”

Hey – WHO ARE YOU? Are you unbiased scientists or BPA manufacturers with a distinct economic agenda?

I welcome input from any and all individuals out there who have something to share. This debate isn’t over by a long shot.
Posted in My Blog on 05/19/2008 03:59 am

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