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February 09, 2008

BPA Free Sippy Cups and Bottles? Does it Matter?

In light of the BPA media frenzy I decided to do some of my own research. I wanted to know for myself if this is just media overkill or if this is the real thing like the lead issues we faced this past fall. What I found was a lot of contradictory information, very unlike the lead scare.

To be fair, consumer groups and plastics manufacturers have issued statements citing that their products are safe and that they do not leach BPA at a rate that presents risk to children or that they stand by their products. Avent has even gone so far as to say they are pro-BPA which promotes anti-regulatory messages.

WHY? Migration of BPA simply does not happen at a rate that is toxic. A study conducted by the University of Athens examined what happens to polycarbonate bottles during real life use. They found that migration of BPA was higher at higher temperatures but that migration levels quickly declined to a baseline level after 4-8 uses even if the water was at the same higher (boiling water) temperatures that it was originally at. What is most important is the amount of migration the researchers found. Researchers at institutions such as The University of Cincinnati report that migration levels are extremely low and are well within safety standards.

For example, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently established a Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for bisphenol A of 50 micrograms/kilogram bodyweight/day, which  represents a safe level for daily exposure over a lifetime.
(3)  In comparison, the highest transient level of bisphenol A measured in the migration studies, which would not occur daily over a lifetime, would result in exposure to bisphenol A that is less than 1% of the TDI.

Additionally, NSF International, a not for profit health organization, concluded that even if the HIGHEST level of BPA were ingested each day exposure would still be far below the Total allowable concentration, thus making both new and used bottles safe.

Avent clearly states on their website that "BPA used in consumer products does not pose a risk to human health" and WebMD quotes that the plastic industry says there is "nothing to worry about".

Web MD had this advice for the use of bottles and sippy cups:
1. Avoid using old, scratched, or cloudy bottles 2. Avoid number 7 plastics and choose number 1, 2, and number 4 plastics 3. use glass baby bottles or those made with polypropolyne and polyethylene. 4. Do not use plastic bottles in the microwave or dishwasher.

Personally... Now, I may be a tad biased because my husband is a plastic's geek guru or I may just be playing the old card of "We used them when we were kids" but I'm on the fence. Is this BPA thing a big deal like the Lead Free Toys? Does is matter which ones I use? Should I toss the Avent bottles and buy the Born Free Bottle or the Adiri Natural Nurser? Should I be tempted to ditch some of my sippy cups that have been washed and worn (I am certainly throwing out the Nubys that we packed away a year ago after Z rec's review.) Thankfully we have only two types of sippy cups and both the Gerber and the Playtex cups make the grade.

Question?
Kids have survived through the toughest of conditions, AJ included, and it has not been the fault of leaching BPA, right? I want to do what is BEST for my kids but is this overzealous or necessary?

If you are interested in replacing or purchasing your first BPA free bottles or sippies head to SafeMama and Z Recommends for those products and the best reviews you will find. (I would have posted them here but they have already done the research.) You can also visit The Soft Landing to purchase products.

Portions of this article are cross-posted from My Two Boys where you can also find the Lead Free Toys list.

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