Toys "R" Us and Wal-Mart to phase out all plastic baby bottles containing the chemical BPA.
For months now, we've been freaking about the possible dangers of bisphenol-A, or BPA, in plastic baby bottles.
And now, reports say Toys "R" Us will phase out all plastic bottles containing the chemical by the end of the year, and Wal-Mart's plastic bottles will be BPA-free by early next year.
The Environmental Working Group says based on its analysis of existing research on BPA, even a very small amount of the compound may cause a host of problems, from brain and behavioral disorders to cancer, a claim the formula makers and federal regulators adamantly deny.
So, what's a Mom to do? We called a leading formula company, the FDA, and two pediatricians to find out the real deal.
A Formula Company: We talked to Gail Wood, spokesperson for Mead Johnson Nutritionals, about the safety of Enfamil. "There's a vast body of very valid science that supports the safety of BPA," she says. "This has been used in our packaging for over 40 years, and we've never received any complaints of side effects."
The Government: The FDA released a statement
saying, "An infant would have to ingest over 7,100 times more than the
current daily dietary exposure to BPA before there would be the
potential for an adverse toxic effect." But the U.S. government's National Toxicology Program says there is "some concern" about BPA.
A Pediatrician: "Many parents will be very reassured by the FDA's comments and, for those parents, not changing what they are doing is reasonable because the risk to their infants doesn't sound significant based on what we know now," says pediatrician and friend of Mom•Logic Dr. Gwenn.
But she says that since there are no studies done on the effects of BPA on humans, just animals, it is very difficult to really ascertain a baby's true risk. And that's very unsettling to many parents (including us). For those of us who aren't comfortable with the lack of data, Dr. Gwenn suggests using glass or BPA-free bottles, or exploring formula options that don't involve cans. "Many liquid formulas come in plastic or glass bottles, and some of the powder formulas come in cardboard containers," Dr. Gwenn says. "Those alternatives would minimize the BPA exposure risks or eliminate them altogether."
The Bottom Line: Pediatrician and friend of
Mom•Logic Dr. Cara Natterson says, "Bottom line: BPA is the focus of much attention these days and, based upon the data, should be avoided when possible. This is all new
information and we don't really know what any of it means... we don't
know the long-term health consequences or the significance of a given
amount of the chemical." That's why we wish more research would be done
on this important medical issue.