Are BPA-free plastic bottles or components worth the risk? A new study says NO

A new study by leading researchers (Yang et al)1 clearly shows that BPA-free plastic components in juvenile bottles, adult bottles, and food storage vessels release chemicals that have been linked to a host of health related issues including (but not limited to): increased rates of breast, ovarian, testicular, and prostate cancer; early puberty in females, obesity, and altered functions of reproductive organs

The study focuses on leaching of chemical components, inherent to all plastics, that cause estrogenic activity (EA). It was found that virtually all plastic compounds including those labeled "BPA-free" leach chemicals that result in estrogenic activity. In fact, many of the BPA-free plastic formulations leach more EA inducing chemicals than the old BPA-laden products (polycarbonate)! Even more alarming is the fact that estrogenic activity is induced by VERY low doses of these chemicals (in some cases 1 part per billion). The study also finds that "stressing" the plastic by exposing it to high humidity heat (dishwasher or boiling) or UV (UV sterilizers) accelerates the release of these chemicals. Most parents subject their bottles to these conditions on a daily basis.

According to Yang et al:

  1. "Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled – independent of the type of resin, product or retail source – leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA-free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than did BPA-containing products."
  2. "We found that exposure to one or more common-use stresses often increases the leaching of chemicals having EA. In fact, our data suggest that almost all commercially available plastic items would leach detectable amounts of chemicals having EA once such items are expose to boiling water, sunlight (UV) and/or microwaving."

According to the study presented every baby bottle (containing plastic) tested (ref Table 2 of study) leached chemicals that have been shown to cause estrogenic activity and thereby lead to enhanced risks of a myriad of health problems. Every juvenile (infant and toddler) bottle on the market except those manufactured by Pura Stainless (Kiki line) employ plastic for the collar that holds the nipple or spout. Most bottles also include additional plastic components such as nipple covers, sealing disks, handles, spouts, etc.

This research is ground breaking and clearly shows the extent to which the use of plastic vessels/containers for food and beverage storage are hazardous to our health. It is likely the established juvenile product companies and plastics conglomerates will dismiss this as either unproven or a non-issue. Sounds a bit like their position when BPA was shown to cause similar problems, doesn't it? Show these firms that they cannot get away with double speak and the dumping inferior products on our children in the name of higher profit margins. There is only one true solution to this issue... eliminate all plastic from juvenile feeding products.

At present there is only one line of infant and toddler bottles that are completely devoid of plastic, the Pura Stainless line of Kiki products. These US and Internationally patent pending bottles employ a stainless collar that captures the nipple or spout and a silicone nipple cover. Toxicity tests conducted by an independent global testing agency found no detectable levels of any plastic by-products in these bottles. Fortunately, the Kiki line of bottles also feature the first modular lid system that allows the Kiki bottles to be used with nipples and spouts from a wide range of vendors so parents no longer needs to choose an inferior bottle because their child prefers a specific nipple.

The bottom line: Plastic feeding and hydration products, including BPA-free plastic products, are NOT safe for use

Link to research:
http://www.ehponline.org/ambra-doi-resolver/10.1289/ehp.1003220

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1 Yang, Yaniger, Jordan, Klein, and Bittner. Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem that Can Be Solved, Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 117, No. 7, July 2011.