8 Steps To Reducing BPA Exposure In Your Child

December 21, 2011 · 19 comments

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ice cubes, ice cube tray

Bisphenol A (BPA) is ubiquitous in our environment. It is used to make polycarbonate plastic found in many toys, cooking utensils, and food packaging materials such as plastic containers and the lining of metal cans. It is also found in the paper used for credit card receipts that most of us touch on a daily basis. Since infants are rapidly developing and weigh so little, the effects of their exposure to BPA is much more critical than adults.

BPA may be measured in urine in parts per billion. Generally they range from 0.4 to 8 parts per billion in the average adult, indicating a chronic exposure to it. It is believed that BPA is metabolized and passes out of the body quickly, but because we are bombarded with exposures every day, there is a constant low dose exposure in most people.

Studies have shown that there are significant adverse effects on humans and the most vulnerable are fetuses, newborns and infants. As of December 2004, there were 115 published in vivo studies concerning low-dose effects of BPA, and 94 of these reported significant effects. In 31 publications with vertebrate and invertebrate animals, significant effects occurred below the predicted “safe” or reference dose of 50 μg/kg/day BPA).

BPA is considered to be an endocrine disruptor because it interferes with processes that involve the hormone estrogen. What does this mean?

It can cause some of the following effects on children:

  • Early onset of female sexual maturity.
  • Increased postnatal growth in both sexes.
  • Increased prostate size in male offspring exposed in the womb.
  • Decreased sperm production and fertility in males due to developmental exposure.
  • Adverse affects on chromosome segregation in eggs.
  • Altered immune function.
  • Hyperactivity, aggressiveness and impaired learning.

In a baby, the key enzyme required to eliminate BPA that is found in the liver, has only 5% the activity as that of an adult. Scientists used a mathematical model to estimate how the amount of BPA in a baby’s blood correlates with an adult’s. They estimated that there is 11 times the amount of BPA in the blood of an infant that that of an adult.

Clearly, this suggests that babies are at much higher risk of adverse effects from BPA than adults. In September of 2010 Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance and banned its use in baby bottles. The European Union followed suit.

In March 2010 the EPA declared BPA a “chemical of concern”. As usual, US officials are dragging their feet about the dangers of a commercial product.  Dr. Ana Soto of Tufts University School of Medicine said, “As a physician, endocrinologist and someone who has signed the Endocrine Society position paper on [concerns over human exposures to] endocrine disruptors, I’m very concerned about BPA exposures.” Indeed, she said that she thinks the risk posed by BPA in the diet “is a lot more serious than the FDA made it out to be.”

The FDA is now making recommendations to discard scratched baby bottles and infant feeding cups. But they are not actively telling you of other possible exposures such as, the fact that dental sealants applied to children’s teeth also contain large amounts of BPA which can leach into saliva.

While babies and infants are most at risk, BPA is so pervasive in our environment, all routes of exposure needs to be considered for children and adults as well.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Avoid heating any foods in plastic.
  • Avoid canned foods except those cans that are labeled BPA free.
  • Avoid any plastic products (like bottles and sippy cups) for your child if it does not say “BPA free.”
  • Avoid liquid baby formula as these are in cans and have been found to have BPA leached into the liquid from the can.
  • Avoid plastic with the recycling label “letters PC #7.” Numbers 1,2, and 4 are safer if you must use plastic.
  • Some metal water bottles do have BPA as a liner. Look for stainless steel without a liner, or BPA free plastic.
  • Try not to touch credit card receipts or at least wash your hands afterwards.
  • Never microwave in plastic (microwave ovens are not healthy to use anyway — a topic for another post).

Stainless steel ice cube trays (where to buy these non toxic trays for your baby’s food).

Perfect for freezing tiny portions of food for your baby and yourself as well! I remember my parents using these old fashioned metal ice cube trays — however back then, they were made out of aluminum. They actually work really well because it is easy to remove the cubes by pulling up the lever.

Stainless steel Baby Dish Set (where to buy stainless steel lunch boxes).

These are so much better than BPA laden plastic dishes!

What ideas do you have for avoiding BPA? Please leave a comment and share your ideas!

Photo Credit

This post is shared at: Creative Juice Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Living Well Blog Hop, Monday Mania, Real Food 101, Hearth & Soul Hop, Traditional Tuesday, Frugal Ways, Healthy 2Day, Real Food Wednesday, Mommy Club

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paula @ Whole Intentions December 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Stainless steel ice cube trays! Who knew! Thanks for the resource!

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2 Sparilis December 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm

If a canned product is labeled “organic”, is it BPA-free, or does it need to have the additional labeling?

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3 Jill December 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Hi Sparilis,
Organic canned products are by no means automatically BPA free. I believe Meur Glen organic canned tomatos are BPA free but I’m sure the manufacturer would put that on the label. Most other cans have BPA.

At present there are no laws requiring labels to indicate that BPA is present. They are just now acknowledging that BPA may pose a risk, although studies have shown this for years

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4 Sparilis December 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I didn’t realize.  Thanks for the info. 

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5 Jill December 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Hi Sparilis,
Organic canned products are by no means automatically BPA free. I believe Meur Glen organic canned tomatos are BPA free but I’m sure the manufacturer would put that on the label. Most other cans have BPA.

At present there are no laws requiring labels to indicate that BPA is present. They are just now acknowledging that BPA may pose a risk, although studies have shown this for years.

Reply

6 Sharb December 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm

just went through a glass container, food container plant, even making canning jars….and surprise, since at least 2002, jars have been sprayed with polymers and hardening agents…feel them, kinda rubbery?  Like new glass bakeware….weird, huh?  they say it makes them stronger…..and that it doesn’t get inside…..well, try feeling the inside of your gallon jars for making ferments.  What does that feel llike to you?  To me, rubbery.  On the gallons you can see drippings at times.  Very sad indeed.  Inert, safe….so they had to quietly find a way to toxify it?  Can it really be so vile a plot?  YIKES!  
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4940613.html

http://www.patents.com/us-3972435.html

and then they recycle it.  Do not know what happens to it recycled in to the next glass batch.

but then, they don’t have to label ingredients for the container.

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7 Sharb December 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm

the only canning organic company, Eden Organics, back 20 years ago, didn’t want bpa in his cans, he had grandchildren!  So he searched until he found someone who knew the old process of vegetable coating, and paid 17 cents per can more.
The are the only bpa free one.
This history is an excellent read if you look it up on their site.

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8 Jill December 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Hi Sharb,
Thanks for the info! I wasn’t aware of the “gorilla glass” from corning. I wonder if my corning baking dishes have this?

Kudos to Eden Oganics for their principles.

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9 Nancy December 26, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Beyond Organic uses BPA free bottles for all of their beverages, online store is at http://healthisinreach.beyondorganicoffice.com

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10 Barb @ A Life in Balance December 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Wow! I had no idea BPA is in dental sealants. 2 of my children have had sealants. I don’t want to think about the long term effect on them. I don’t think I’ll do sealants again, but I do need hard facts to present to my dentist when it’s time.

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11 Anonymous December 29, 2011 at 9:57 am

Hi Jill,
Excellent, informative post.
I’d like to add that to my knowledge, it isn’t only credit card receipts, but any receipts or other item that is printed on that type of paper. I used to sometimes hold receipts like that in my mouth for a few seconds while fumbling for my wallet etc. – but no more. A baby would happiy play with a little piece of paper in his or her mouth.

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12 Jill December 29, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Hi Ruth,
So true. When you think about it, we handle receipts at every store we go to. Imagine the exposure for someone working at a register all day!

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13 Alea Milham January 2, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Great post! We do everything we can to limit our family’s exposure to BPA. Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

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14 Janelle April 7, 2013 at 11:54 am

Great post! But its only a start. BPA free is a scam, they replace it with one of the other bisphenols, like BPS, so if the can is lined it is using one of the plastic compounds to make it pliable, this goes for any squishy plastic even if it is labeled as BPA free. I try to stick with hard plastics or glass.

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15 Jill April 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

@ Janelle,
Yes I’ve heard about this — some say the BPA free plastics are actually worse — but I have yet to come across any studies — do you have any documentation about this?

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