Posts Tagged ‘plastics’

Are phthalates in your food?

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

pregnant woman in greenPlastic is a man-made substance that is used to make many products like bottles, toys and furniture. One group of chemicals used in the plastic-making process is phthalates. These make plastic soft and flexible. Items that may contain this chemical include medical equipment (such as tubing), shampoo, make-up and food packaging. You can also be exposed to phthalates from processed foods. Phthalates are not added into foods directly, but they get into the food from the equipment that is used to process them.

Why are phthalates dangerous?

We don’t know the health effects of low levels of exposure to phthalates. Large amounts of exposure to phthalates during pregnancy can cause problems with your baby’s brain and behavior. For boys, they may cause problems with the prostate, which is a small gland near the bladder and penis that protects sperm.

What can you do to avoid phthalates?

  • Try to eat as many fresh foods as possible and limit your intake of processed items. We have tips to help.
  • Don’t microwave food in plastic containers or put plastics in the dishwasher. Limit canned food.
  • Don’t use shampoo, lotions or powders that contain phthalates. Check the product label to make sure it’s phthalate-free.
  • Wash your hands before eating. Teach your children to wash their hands, too.
  • Buy toys that are labeled phthalate-free or made after February 2009 and don’t let your baby chew on plastic electronics like the TV remote or a cell phone.
  • Don’t re-use single-use plastics such as water bottles, coffee cups and straws.

Have questions? Text or email us at mailto:AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Top baby bottle makers stop using BPA

Friday, March 13th, 2009

baby-bottlesI read an interesting article in the Washington Post recently about the safety of baby bottles.  It says that the six largest manufacturers of baby bottles (Avent, Disney First Years, Dr. Brown, Evenflow, Gerber, and Playtex) will stop selling bottles in the United States made with bisphenol A, also known as BPA. This action comes in response to a request from the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey asking them to voluntarily stop using the controversial chemical, particularly since substitutes for it are available.

You can read a bit more about chemicals in plastics on our website and in a previous post.

New research on BPA has brought up some concerns and the FDA currently is reviewing it’s position on the safety of BPA.  We’ll let you know when the FDA makes a decision about the use of this chemical. In the meantime, it’s nice to read that manufacturers are taking what appears to be a positive step toward keeping our children healthy.

Poison prevention

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

The world is a beautiful place! But sadly, some things in our environment can harm us and our children. With a little knowledge and some effort, parents can protect their babies from many of these hazards (like asbestos, carbon monoxide, poor drinking water, mold, chemicals in plastics…).  If you’re thinking of starting a family, brushing up on various safety topics for a baby’s environment is an excellent idea.

Each year, approximately 2.4 million people – more than half under age 6 – swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some important tips to prevent and to treat exposures to poison. Tips are available in English and Spanish.

Plastics and babies: Is there a risk?

Friday, September 5th, 2008

We live in a plastic world: bottles, toys, jewelry, telephones, furniture, remote controls, and on and on.

Plastics are made from chemicals. One of those chemicals is bisphenol A (BPA), which makes plastics clear, strong and hard to break. BPA is used in many products, including baby bottles, food containers and water bottles.

Scientists are debating whether or not bisphenol A is safe for children’s health. Various scientfic groups have reviewed the research and come to different conclusions.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) recently released a report about bisphenol A. NTP expressed some concern about the possible effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will host an expert meeting on BPA in September.

Meanwhile, what’s a mommy to do? To learn how some parents are responding, read Plastics and Babies on the March of Dimes Web site.

Are plastics safe for baby?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

You may have seen some news reports about the possible risk of plastics for babies. This is one of those frustrating times when we wished we had more information! This post may help you decide what you want to do. 

Plastics are made from certain chemicals. Two of those chemicals are phthalates (THA-laytz) and bisphenol A (BIZ-fee-nawl ay).

  • Phthalates make plastic soft and flexible. They are used in toys, rattles, teethers, and medical devices such as tubing.
  • Bisphenol A, also called BPA, makes plastics clear, strong, and hard to break. It is used in baby bottles, food containers and water bottles.

Scientists are debating whether these chemicals pose a risk to children’s health. Various scientific groups have reviewed the research and have come to different conclusions about these chemicals. The research is unclear. More studies are needed to find answers.

What We Know About BPA
On April 14, the National Toxicology Program issued a draft report expressing some concern about the possible risk of bispheonl A to fetuses, infants and children. In animal studies, this chemical has caused changes in behavior, the brain, the prostate gland, the mammary gland, and the age at which females attain puberty.  

Remember, these were animal studies, and sometimes humans react differently than animals. We need more research to see if these changes also occur in humans. Meanwhile, the government of Canada is being cautious and has taken the first steps to ban baby bottles made with BPA.

What We Know about Phthalates
The European Union has banned phthalates from toys. But the U.S. government has not done so. In the United States and Canada, companies no longer use phthalates in the nipples of baby bottles, teethers, and toys intended to go in the baby’s mouth.

The National Toxicology Program has concluded that one type of phthalate used in plastic medical tubing and equipment could post a risk to baby’s boy’s reproductive systems. Some hospitals have begun to remove such products from newborn nurseries.

What Some Parents Are Doing
Since research is still being done on phthalates and bisphenol A, some parents have chosen to be cautious. Here are some of the things they are doing: 

  • Breastfeeding their babies so they don’t have to use baby bottles
  • Giving their babies toys made of fabric or unpainted wood
  • Using baby bottles made of glass, polypropylene, or polyethylene
  • Using baby products with labels that say they don’t contain BPA or phthalates