Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm terrified of Plastics

I am more and more terrified of plastics.  There is so much of it out there and it's really confusing when it comes to choosing what's best for your family.

Every single time I hand my daughter a plastic sippy cup, plate or utensil I think twice. There are special plastics markings which we should look for when looking for safety but sadly there are more unmarked plastics out there than not.

safe plastics

Bisphenol-A (BPA) has received a lot of bad rep since 2008 and deservedly so.  In Oct 2010 Canada was the first country to declare BPA toxic and ban its use in food & drink containers such as baby bottles.  Today I found out that the EU has also banned the use of BPA in baby bottles starting in March 2011, and banned for import and sale as of June 2011.

According to Wikipedia, BPA is a chemical that mimics the action of the human hormone estrogen.

BPA has been found to stimulate prostate cancer cells and causes breast tissue changes in mice that resemble early stages of breast cancer in both mice and humans. One study found an association between ovarian dysfunction and higher levels of BPA in urine.

BPA is primarily used to make polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers, plastic food wrap, and epoxy resins that are used to line metal cans for food, such as cans of soup. Polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers that contain BPA will be labeled recycling #7.

What we need to know (taken from eHow): 

PETE, Labeled 1, Polyethylene Terephthalate - Common in drink containers (soda, water, etc.) food jars and cosmetic holders. This material is not designed for repeated use due to leaching and bacteria growth.  
HDPE, Labeled 2, High density Polyethylene - This is common in milk and juice containers as well as grocery and shopping bags. From what we know, it appears to be safe. 

PVC, Labeled 3, Polyvinyl Chloride - This is found in vinyl shower curtains, baby mattresses, window frames, meat wrap just to name a few. PVC is known as the Poison Plastic because of the dangerous toxins it contains.  

LDPE, Labeled 4, Low density polyethylene - Found in sturdy trash bags, bread bags, squeezable bottles and food wrap. This one also appears to be safe. 

PP, Labeled 5, Polypropylene - Common in medicine bottle, cereal bags, straws, chip and snack bags, and food storage containers. Also in children's sippy cups and bottles. This one also appears to be safe. 

PS, Labeled 6, Polystyrene - Used in CD/tape cassettes, plastic cutlery, egg cartons, and take out containers. Avoid this one as it is a possible carcinogen and hormone disruptor. It may leach styrene.

The most confusing is the one labeled 7, which is "other" OR "PC" which is toxic Polycarbonate. This is sadly found in baby bottles, baby food containers, formula containers, pacifiers, and car parts. It is better to be safe than sorry and avoid this one. The concern is from leaching of Bisphenol A which appears to cause chromosomal damage.

      • I've done some further research on label #7 and have found that there are some bottles marked with number 7, and promoted as BPA free, underneath it's written Tritan, BPA Free.  However, although it is BPA free it doesn't actually mean that it's safe. This is because the ingredients that make up Tritan have been kept secret.  So we have no way of knowing whether its safe.  It could contain some other dangerous chemical, or not.... we just don't know. 
      • I should state that there are some number 7 plastics which are safe but do not belong to any other category so are sadly lumped here. Such as Biobased plastics which are basically plastics made of plants instead of toxic chemicals.  But those plastics should be marked as such.

Now the scary point is that when heated, even the safe plastics emit BPA.  So basically, we should not microwave food in plastic containers, and we should really avoid putting them in the dishwasher as well.  We should not put hot foods in plastic containers for storage but wait until cooled to do so.  The more the plastics are used, scratched and worn out, the more chances there are of BPA leaching out.

I've basically made a decision to completely reduce the use plastics with Emma and all my future children. I'm switching to stainless steel as soon as I can get my hands on a bottle. There are even stainless steel baby bottles.   I've actually decided to go so far and import stainless steel baby bottles, sippy cups and sports bottles to Cyprus.  So if anyone in Cyprus wants one, please let me know!

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  1. Thanks for this! I am the same way - I never know what is safe!

  2. No authoritative or regulatory body anywhere in the world classifies styrene to be a known cause of human cancer. Moreover, a study conducted by a "blue ribbon" panel of epidemiologists and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (November 2009) reports: "The evidence of human carcinogenicity of styrene is inconsistent and weak. On the basis of the available evidence, one cannot conclude that there is a causal relationship between styrene and any type of human cancer." Further, in 2006 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program determined styrene to be of "negligible concern" for effects on human development and reproduction, including endocrine effects.

    Priscilla Briones for the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC), Arlington, Virginia. SIRC ( is a trade association representing interests of the North American styrene industry with its mission being the collection, development, analysis and communication of pertinent information on styrene.

  3. Thank you for visit and join my blog hop.

    Have a nice day.


  4. Hello Hello!! Great read!! Thank you for sharing! Stopping by to say Hi from

  5. Hi there! I found your blog through the Midweek Hop! I am happily following your lovely blog :) Please stop by and visit my when you get the chance!

  6. Plastics are definitely scary. Its good to know what to look for.
    I'm following via the midweek mingle.

    Heather From and Mommy Only Has Two Hands! and Lynhea Designs

  7. So did you watch that episode of Dr. Oz a while back? I did my own research after. Our grandparents had the right idea: glass containers only! By the way, love bento box lunches ^_^
    I am your newest follower, found you on bipolar girl's blog hop.

  8. Stopping by from Mid-week mingle~very informative post~I had no idea they made stainless steel baby bottles!

  9. Plastics are very scary! Thanks for sharing!

    I'm now following via the Friday Blog Hop!

  10. Plastics scare me too.
    New follower.

  11. Wow, didn't know what all those numbers meant I will have to look out for that now.


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