9.05.2007

The Plastic Bubble Has Burst, or Why 7 is the New 666

Okay, I admit it. Plastics are officially freaking me out now.

In many ways I am the laid-back mom, the one who's like, eh, Thalia sticking her fingers in her mouth after riding on the subway will only make her immune system stronger. Besides - hey, maybe there's something healthy on that pole there! Maybe a leftover bit of wheatgrass splattered by an early morning commuter-slash-vegan? A mother can only hope.

I don't give my kids baths daily, I don't freak about letting Thalia eat a few of my Cheetos, and I only blinked three times before speaking when my mother-in-law informed me she took Thalia to McDonald's. But only because there are like 18 better places to get your transfats in our neighborhood.

But all this stuff about plastics? It has me worried.

When I first heard nervous twittering from environmental types (thanks, J. Lisa!) I blew it off. I didn't want to know. Better not to know. Know what? What are you even talking about? I have no idea. How 'bout them Yankees?

But then another friend emailed me a pdf from the California study on plastics in baby bottles and I forced myself to sit down, act like a parent, get over my shit and read the damn thing. You can too: It's here. It's easy to get through, in nice clean type, and doesn't feel at all like homework. Except for maybe a graph or two.

Here's the one paragraph summary as I understand it, without getting all science-y on you: Chemicals linked to heinously heinous diseases and conditions are getting into our bodies through certain plastics, and especially the ones with a little 7 in the recycling triangle stamped on the bottom. Heating these plastics, or repeated washing of them, makes it worse because the plastic starts breaking down.

So what plastics are often heated and washed repeatedly, then go into our kids' mouths?

No.

Yes.

Hello.

(I would mention pacifiers but since we rarely wash ours, I can breathe easier. Phew.)

Five brands of baby bottles were tested to see which were "leaching" toxins, and the highest offenders are Avent and Evenflo, with my fancy schmancy Dr. Brown's falling in the middle along with Gerber, and then Playtex - not as bad.

Now considering Thalia spent the better part of 2 years with a Dr. Brown's bottle between her lips and Sage is about to do the same, I wasn't too happy about this. I didn't race right out for blood tests just yet, but I wasn't happy.

So first step: I stopped washing bottles and plastic sippy cups in the dishwasher driving Nate bonkers. He's still in the fingers in the ear LALALALALA phase of this whole thing. Then I stopped microwaving anything in plastic containers. Then I bought some Sigg bottles which maybe I'll even use one of these days. Good intentions, good intentions.

But then, today.

Today!

Today I go and read the Baby Bargains Book Blog (thanks to Greg at Daddy Types) - and any of you who have ever read that book knows the authors are awesome and conscientious and credible consumer advocates. Well it turns out that the JPMA, that so-called safety group that tells you which cribs could decapitate a limb or what not, is essentially not all as "We love you mommies! We want to protect your kids!" as they say they are. In fact, they're kind of the opposite. Another freaking lobbyist who's out there opposing the proposed ban of those chemicals in baby bottles because eh...could hurt sales.

Who do we trust any more? Who's out there looking out for us? I mean Jesus Christ on a Stoned Wheat Thin (regular sodium), I always assumed the government more or less had our best interests at heart. I really did. But between this and the toy recalls I'm on the verge of turning into one of those conspiracy theorists who think the White House actually has a plan to make us all sick intentionally to help the folks at pharmaceutical companies with their profit margins.

So what do we do about it? How do we get moms like me (you know, the ones--like me--who are like, Eh...plastics. Whatever. Everything is bad for you these days if you read enough, right?) to take their heads out of the very comfy, cozy sand and read the research and stop buying these products? How do we keep our kids relatively safe--not cuckoo bird safe, but just regular old safe.

And no jokes about keeping your kids in plastic bubbles. Because that's probably now bad for them too.

We are a force to be reckoned with, parents who blog! Can we put our Wondertwin rings together and activate?

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Kind, wonderful, informed readers: I appreciate all the URLs you're leaving but sadly my template doesn't. If you could kindly hotlink the url if it's longer than like 4 letters, that would be great - or if you don't know how, email me and I'll post it for you.

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Update 12/23/08 It seems the FDA has finally come around ohhhh... a mere 15 months later. Read: FDA to Reconsider Plastic Bottle Risk in the NY Times


110 Comments:

Blogger Cool Mommy said...

Hey Liz - I hear you about the plastics... there are some websites selling glass bottles now as well "Born Free" is a company that has bottles that don't leach that yucky stuff

9/5/07, 4:23 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Good advice Cool Mommy! And I know Dr Browns is now making a glass bottle.

But shouldn't things that can hurt kids be off the market altogether? Or come with warning labels? Or free antibiotics? Something?

9/5/07, 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

My first thought I was reading this: There should be a blog! A blog that tells me what things are good and what are bad. Cuz bloggers look out for us people! Obviously our government can't be trusted to do that, right?

9/5/07, 4:34 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

cool mommy -if you could hot link that...otherwise mty template goes wonky with long urls. thank you!

9/5/07, 4:38 PM  
Blogger hello insomnia said...

When we left the hospital, we got a huge pack of glass-bottle nursettes. Why don't more companies just produce them? Or tack on toxicity-antidotes to their products?

9/5/07, 4:49 PM  
Blogger Nap Warden said...

Ummm...hi, been using the Evenflo plastic...What was I thinking? Going out to buy glass bottles this afternoon. Thanks!

9/5/07, 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

We didn't use bottles (trust me, if I could have found one that my finicky, boobie-only baby would have taken--7s or not--we would have) but I've had my head in the sand long enough about this plastics concern and all of the other sick stuff that's going on out there in the name of money-making. I'm ready to do something too, to take some action. But what? I'm here, checking in on comments, to find out what we can collectively do to make a difference.

9/5/07, 5:06 PM  
Anonymous b said...

I've always been against plastic food containers. I never had a good argument for why. Thanks for backing up my "gut" with facts. Can't wait to do my "in your face" dance to my husband.

9/5/07, 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Melizzard said...

Dr Brown bottles and non-bathed children - it makes my head hurt because we are alot alike and now you've got me all up and bothered about the damn bottles. Truthfully it's time to get rid of them but I've been lazy about it because it is such a ritual at bedtime - which is the only time "bobbles" are used anymore. So do you think the Dr. Brown's that I have been nuking for 2 years are leaching yet? Ughhh....

9/5/07, 5:18 PM  
Blogger Blogversary said...

You made me feel better about sippy cups because I never put them in the dishwasher.

9/5/07, 5:25 PM  
Blogger Miguelina. said...

I hear you on being proud to be a laid-back and non-crunchy granola mom, I'm one as well. But I'm so tired of companies selling toxic crap because they think we don't care. In my case, the toxic toys that are a result of lax supply chain management have forced me to boycott toys made in china. I blogged about it and wish more people blogged and acted on these issues.

We have a voice and we should use it. We also have $ and should spend it wisely.

9/5/07, 5:26 PM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

I've been freaked out about plastics since I read about pthalates in a Newsweek article a couple months ago. The other day I went completely berserk when Husband used cling wrap to cover something he was warming up for the kids in the microwave. He left it in too long (not his fault, we have a new microwave. Who knew it only takes seconds rather than minutes to rewarm food??) and melted all over the food. I threw it away and he thought I was being ridiculous.

You really have to think and long and hard about whether all this "progress" we've made, is really progress at all. We destroying the ozone, killing off the coral reefs, polluting our drinking water, and saturating ourselves and our children with chemicals.

My kids were both breastfed, but they did bottles occasionally. I used Playtex disposables (pthalates make plastics pliable) so though I didn't wash or heat milk in them, I'm sure I've doomed my children anyway.

Oy. I need to go watch the Sound of Music or something.

9/5/07, 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Selfmademom said...

This topic at the same time puts me into a fit of rage and makes me laugh. It's hard to draw the line on what to get nervous or worry about these days. It's funny to me, because the blogosphere is going cuckoo about it, but when I've talked to any of my friends about it (who don't read blogs or blog themselves) they don't seem worried about it at all. I wonder if we, then are early adopters, or if we feed the beast, you know? But I still may boil those sippy cups tonight.

9/5/07, 5:58 PM  
Blogger B said...

OF COURSE I use Advent. Bwah. Idiot I am. The thing that is most frusterating is you are going along parenting thinking you are doing a stand-up job… feeding organics, buying wooden toys then wham! The thing your kid uses the most is bad for them. I never use anything with a 3 in the recycling triangle (PVC) but apparently that just isn't good enough.

9/5/07, 5:59 PM  
Blogger Stefania said...

Being the prone to paranoia type, I tossed almost every plastic container in the house, esp. the dishes n things that my kids eat off of/drink from. I'm SO PISSED OFF about these toy recalls. A reporter for an Asian newspaper interviewed me and asked if people thought if the toy recall (or people reacting to it/freaking out) was "racist" because they were all manuf. in China. I told no, it doesn't have anything with racism, it has to do with toy manufacturers' bottom lines, the greedy fucks. They don't care about us. They don't care about kids. They care about profits. When I read today that a mom bagged up her toys and delivered straight to Mattel, I thought, "She's on to something." I think everyone should send their recalled toys to Mattel COD.

9/5/07, 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Dawn224 said...

We could start buying stuff that's supposed to be better and tellin' the world. (Yes, blog, I'm just backin' ya'll up here).

I bought the evenflo glass bottles but then realized I'd ordered the wrong size. If Dr. Brown's is making a glass bottle, I'd rather have that anyway. Reviews on the glass bottles are here


treehugger.com usually has a huge amount of information, they also have started a 'personal shopper' where you can make requests for things like "hey, I'd love to be able to feed my kiddo and not feel like I'm poisoning him at the same time.

If someone starts a blog for finding nontoxic, yet not uber crunchy stuff for our kids and families I'd love to be in on it.

9/5/07, 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Cool Mommy said...

I totally agree Liz. I've actually been thinking about contacting Health Canada about warnings on this stuff. Too me, as well, bumper pads should come with warnings as well, as Health Canada recommends not using.... click here

9/5/07, 6:35 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Stefania, that's FABULOUS.

Can you send them C.O.D.?

9/5/07, 7:05 PM  
Anonymous awholelotoftnothing said...

I sooo respect your honesty and telling us about the pacifier (ours may go all day - or maybe a few) before getting a proper wash. DO NOT tell my mom.
Wondertwin Powers - ACTIVATE! We can only do enough to change together.

9/5/07, 7:10 PM  
Blogger Corey said...

I ditched the plastic plates b/c my kids are big enough/old enough to use glass ones. I still have the Gerber plastic bowls for snacks and such that they schlep around the living room and rest of the house. I'm having a hard time getting rid of those for lack of breakability.

Also, I am having a hard time getting rid of the plastic sippy cups because they are leak proof. I have some Foogoos and Funtainers (by Thermos) and some Sigg's but if they are left open and get knocked over, they leak. Any suggestions on the sippy cup front? Has anyone tried the Foogoo Sippies? I know it's their health, but I still have a hard time spending $15 on a sippy cup...

9/5/07, 7:27 PM  
Blogger Blueschild said...

Liz, how sad that I have been a fan of your blog for over a year and I have yet to leave a comment...so here goes: I crave your posts and you should know that.

It was great seeing you and the girls and if you are wondering who this is, it's Amanda.

By the way, from someone who was raised on Three's Company, Hot Dogs, and plastics, I say you are doing a stellar job as a mom.

(And you should know that.)

9/5/07, 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Giebitz said...

Where's Ralph Nader and his team of Raiders when you need them?

Regardless of how you feel about him running for president, you've got to respect what the man's done (almost single-handedly) for consumer rights over the years. And if you don't know what he's done, now is a great time to learn and become inspired!

On a more personal note, all this stuff is a little overwhelming to me, considering we're expecting our first toward the end of the month. I have to remind myself that we can only control so much. After that, we can be very thankful that we're rather hardy creatures.

9/5/07, 8:40 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Hi Blueschild!

Well after a year, it's about time you said hi and pointed me back to your brilliant writing now in blog form.

It was fun seeing you have sex in my bed last week.

Ha.

9/5/07, 8:51 PM  
Blogger slouching mom said...

Funny you should write this now -- I just bought a Sigg bottle for Jack's lunch at kindergarten.

And I am so happy about it.

Because by the end of the school year, he will have used it at lunchtime approximately 150 times.

9/5/07, 9:06 PM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

Now I'm even more irritated that I threw out those Playtex bottles.

I'll start looking for that evil number 7. Thanks for the heads up.

9/5/07, 9:14 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Actually, a group of us moms did get together and decided we need to speak up about this (and other related topics):

http://momsspeakup.com/

Thank Izzy for coming up with the idea.

At my house, we've ditched the Avent bottles for safe bottles, and thrown out the plastic plates.

9/5/07, 9:24 PM  
Anonymous mrs. Q. said...

Oh, frig. I don't put bottles in the dishwasher, but I guess the mandated "boil for 5 minutes before using" isn't so smart either? AHHHH. I can just guess how long glass bottles will last in my house with a porcelain sink.

I'm going straight to thge kitchen to inspect all the baby plates, cups and forks. Man.

My sister bought all the kids stainless steel water bottles so they aren't drinking water that has plastic leeching into it-- a benefit: those things double as a weapon when hurled by a frustrated toddler.

9/5/07, 9:37 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

After reading this, and bringing it up to my husband, we just got into an argument because he is one of those head-in-the-sand types. How do we get people to take notice? I wish I knew. I can't even get my husband to listen.

9/5/07, 9:42 PM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

ok. i now feel completely chagrined because it's my *husband* who's been insisting on never microwaving the bottles or using the dishwasher, which, frankly, I've found hugely annoying. I guess I'm one of the head in the sand types. But you've convinced me (and I feel so relieved that Frank has been so insistent..)

9/5/07, 10:09 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Christina, thank you for that link! I didn't know about it.

And Mrs. Chicky - I don't know either. Nate is definitely of the "don't ask/don't ask" school of toxic shit awareness.

9/5/07, 10:15 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Joy, the truth is I'd be annoyed if it came from Nate first. Funny how that works.

But truthfully you're lucky he cares. Not that you don't. It's just annoying to care. More work. At least that how I've looked at it until recently.

9/5/07, 10:17 PM  
Blogger Marketing Mommy said...

Yeah, this stuff pisses me off. I switched from Avent to Playtex Nursers for my newborn, but she's still getting mostly booby. But when I put my stash of Avent bottles and nipples up on Freecycle, I got a ton of responses...so not everyone's on board this train yet.

And yes, I did torture myself about putting a potential toxin on Freecycle...

9/5/07, 10:25 PM  
Anonymous kl said...

The scariest book in the world is one by Theo Colborn called Our Stolen Future.

It talks about the leaching of
chemicals from the various synthetics that make our lives easier, and the accumulation and magnification of these chemicals through the food chain into the fatty tissue of humans. Many of these chemicals "mimic" hormones, and disrupt some of our most fundamental biological functions. I read the book years ago and cried for days, but wouldn't you know it, nearly a decade and two babies later, I'm feeding my children from the same plastics because (jeez louise) I just can't fit one more friggin errand into my day.

I've long believed that economics is the only driver in the world. If we stopped buying crap, we would stop getting crap. But that is a total sanctimonious position that only a pompous middle-class educated woman like myself (ie. one who can afford to buy Sigg bottles for her children) can take. *Sigh* There is no win. We're living in a country where upward mobility is a rapidly disappearing concept and the only thing keeping the masses from revolution is WalMart.

I applaud the mamas on this board for trying (and especially for voting with their dollars). I only wish I had even one ounce of that faith in change left.

9/5/07, 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Major Bedhead said...

OK, here's a question (because I have no answers, I'm just sitting over here saying "Fanfuckingtastic. Yet another thing for me to worry about." But in a good way.) - I have sippy cups that have no number in a triangle on the bottom. I also have some kid plates and bowls from IKEA that have two clock things on the bottom, except one is pointing at five and the other at seven. What the hell is that??

I guess my next purchase is metal water bottles. Those will ding up the wood floors nicely when the Bug turns them into projectile missiles - it's her favourite parlour trick.

9/5/07, 11:10 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

OK, my head is going to explode. Between this and the toy recalls, I'm ready to start buying baby supplies exclusively from the Amish.

9/6/07, 12:10 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

My husband has been driving me crazy for years because he insists on dumping everything that we stored in plastic containers into a glass one to heat it up. His defense was that he "doesnt trust plastic" and my defense was "another F-in dish to wash!"
(((sigh)))

9/6/07, 8:36 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Major Bedhead - Most plastic sippy cups are safe.

Also, I forgot to add that we switched to the Gerber Gentleflow bottles. They're safe, not that expensive, and you can use Avent nipples with them. You can find them at Walgreens.

9/6/07, 9:44 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

This stuff pisses me the hell off. I am a few more articles away from starting a commune. It is ridiculous, between the cancer causing chemicals in baby wash, these leaching chemicals in their bottles, and the effing lead paint recalls, I am feeling very overwhelmed.

Also, if the recycling triangle has no number on it, but a PC underneath, what does that mean?

9/6/07, 11:34 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Kyla - PC means polycarbonate, which are the plastics of concern. Same as a 7, if I'm not mistaken.

9/6/07, 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention the silicone vs. latex nipple issues. We bought glass bottles for our newborn twins and they came with latex nipples that we had to replace with silicone.

Another thing to watch out for is the lead in the lunch box issue. We just bought a lead-free, safe plastic lunch kit for our daughter who just started kindergarten this year called the Laptop Lunch Bento Box and we send her water to school in a SIGG bottle. I highly recommend the site reusablebags.com. They sell great stuff. I'm a fan of the reusable shopping bags too. Even the Meijer by us gave us a discount for using them!

9/6/07, 11:47 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

OMG, I'm freaked out now too. I would have frowned upon glass bottles as a shattering hazard when nice, safe plastic was available . . . but I guess that's changed now.

9/6/07, 12:24 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Okay, I was going to be all...like...am I the only clumsy dork of mom, here...on the plastic-good and glass-bad side of the fence...and then Lady M said it, too.

Funny, I don't feel better.

How about if I tell you that I used to be very good, like sterilizing every gosh-darned thing in the house that dared to come anywhere near my first born's lips.

Until - blaming it on sleep deprivation - I forgot about the nipples boiling on the stove and boy, did you know that melted plastic does NOT smell good, either!?!?

Don't even get me started on microwaving - UGH!

9/6/07, 12:51 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

I've never even thought about the sippy cups before -- ugh!

This is absolutely ridiculous.

Off to purge the kitchen of more hazards not kept under the kitchen sink (labeled with Mr. Yuck stickers) behind a locked door. . .

9/6/07, 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Dr. Brown's (Handi-Craft is the company behind them) will be making glass bottles, which I know you mentioned already Liz, but they won't be available for another 3-4 months.

In the meantime, I have to decide what to do with my stash of Dr. Browns from child #1. I don't have the heart to throw them out because gawd! they were a fortune! But I can't in good conscience pass them onto someone else because of this. Also, I'm hoping the glass version comes out before January, because that's when I'm expecting #2 to make his/her appearance. After the gas/bloating issues my first had, I don't know that I want to go with another bottle that doesn't have that incredible venting system (which is made of plastic, but not the kind that has this chemical in it, as mentioned in the link above).

9/6/07, 1:11 PM  
Blogger Tootsie said...

Everybody go visit Jo - she's got recommendations on what to use and where to get it.

I don't know how to hotlink within the comment, so visit me and I'll link to her. If someone can tell me how to hotlink in a comment, I'll fix this one up with the direct link.

9/6/07, 1:14 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Andrea, clicking around links, someone (argh, forget who!) mentioned that you can use the Dr Brown's venting doodads in another set of bottles if you trim the bottoms. Maybe evenflo? I'll look around for it.

Tootsie: email me the link: mom101[at]mac.com

9/6/07, 1:21 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Via Tootsie:

The famous Jo, and her many good links.

9/6/07, 1:39 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

Jesus. Maybe now I shouldn't feel so bad that Myles won't take a bottle.

9/6/07, 1:40 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

This has been freaking me the heck out for a while now, too. Not the least because one of the most suspect plastic chemicals, the estrogen-mimic Bisphenol-A, is common not only in baby bottles and sippy cups but also in dental sealants. Which I have (they were foisted upon me by a dentist when I was 15, to prevent cavities. Which I thought was kind of dumb even at that time since I had never had a cavity).

So, I know I might already have fairly high levels of this stuff in my system, which means my son must have been exposed in utero . .

(This does, however, make me feel better about the fact that my son refused to drink expressed milk reliably from bottles when he was a baby, causing me to give up on the Avents after a few months. A lot more sleepless nights for me, and a lot of awkward moments trying to nurse a baby in the stockroom at work on my meal breaks, but, at least he didn't get as much toxin exposure, right?)

I have heard that #5 plastic is the safest kind, in case anyone is wondering.

9/6/07, 1:51 PM  
Blogger BOSSY said...

Bossy suggests rubber. Like, condoms. Avoid this conundrum at its inception. Or is that 'conception'?

9/6/07, 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Dawn224 said...

One more good link via blogher

9/6/07, 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad my daughter is breast feeding. I am having enough stress trying to figure out where to get toys for my grandchildren for Christmas ....handmade seems safest. I had this blind faith that Fisher Price was safe for my family. I am heding out to buy one of those pens that tests for lead. Our local news said they can be found at home improvement stores!

9/6/07, 10:16 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Anon 10:16 - Don't stress over toys! Without being too self promotional Cool Mom Picks has toooooons of handmade, lead free toys. Just click the "find it" tab at top and look under toys.

You're a good grandma!

9/6/07, 10:21 PM  
Blogger Kristy C said...

I just posted about this on my blog just yesterday! There is a great website that has a list of a lot of the studies regarding plastics, and on the right hand side of the website are guidelines that list which plastics to avoid--and it's more than the #7, it's also #3, and #6.
http://bisphenolafree.org/

I have a newborn, and initially used the well reviewed Dr. Brown's bottles. Then I found this website, and now we are only Medela! It does get complicated though, because it's not just bottles, it's sippy cups, water bottles, basically anything plastic. It definitely makes me think twice before putting plastic in the microwave too. I think it's back to the basics-more glass, and less plastic!

9/6/07, 10:56 PM  
Anonymous Johnathan said...

So I read the whole thing, and checked the footnotes, and there was a dog not barking with a deafening silence: where are the studies showing evidence of human harm? Such a study would not only be staggeringly easy because of the large sample sizes (there are plenty of exclusively-bottle-fed babies and never-bottle-fed babies, children, and adults out there who could be matched for other variables and compared for health outcomes), but the scientist who proved to the world that the way we care for our babies is significantly harming them would be in Nobel Prize territory and granted World Hero status. So where is it? (Hard to know what footnotes 20 and 47 are about, but given the quality of the others, I'm willing to take my chances).

I'm sure the plastics leach chemicals, and I think it's possible they harm mice under certain laboratory conditions. I'm also sure that standard bottle-use does not harm humans, and I'm willing to put money down on it. I'll put $1000 aside to bet ten of you $100 apiece. The only question is, how do we judge who won and who lost? My initial suggestion is: within the next 15 years, has any Nobel prize in Chemistry, Physiology and Medicine, or even Peace, been awarded to a scientist or scientists who established a link between bisphenol A leached from household plastics and adverse health affects? It's not like anyone can easily pin the Nobel Committee as being in the pocket of US manufacturing interests. The only problem with the bet is that sometimes someone's groundbreaking work isn't recognized with a Prize that quickly (as there's a backlog of significant as-yet-unawarded achievements). So any better ideas? Any alarmist care to put their money where their mouth is?

Perhaps we won't reach any mutually agreeable terms. But for anyone who just balks at the idea altogether, well, consider how you estimate the likelihood that you're right when it's your own money at stake, as opposed to just blithely suggesting that the government regulate a product out of existence.

9/6/07, 10:57 PM  
Blogger Jozet said...

When i was pregnant with #1, I read this book called Natural Baby Care, and basically freaked out that we didn't paint our entire house with NonVOC paints and that our mattresses weren't all 100% organic cotton or wool...

Then, I heard about Peak Oil and started reading clusterf*cknation, and just about decided to go crawl in a hole.

Now, I do what I can as I hear about it. Moderation. I realized that I was getting a bit too uptight all around when my second child began having panic attacks about the sun burning out in 4 billion years.

But getting rid of plastic, I can do. And not only because of the toxic crap they leach, but just because I think that plastic dishes and cups, etc, are as tacky as double-knit polyester suits.

Anyway, I'll second the treehugger site. And Mothering. http://www.mothering.com/ How about http://www.thegreenparent.co.uk/

Just don't google "Peak Oil" and you should be okay. ;-)

9/7/07, 1:22 AM  
Blogger VDog said...

I finally got my post up (see my comment above). A bunch of really informative links.

Who knew Baby Magic was evil and J&J Baby Wash was just merely bad?

9/7/07, 1:22 AM  
Blogger Jozet said...

Another good site...don't know whether this one was mentioned.

http://www.thegreenguide.com/

9/7/07, 1:29 AM  
Blogger Jozet said...

And just because I have nothing better to do...

Instead of plastic cups for the girls, we use Welch's jelly jars. There is a series of smaller jars that are super thick glass. The baby threw one across the room the other day and it didn't break. I broke one once, but it stayed in big pieces, no shards.

Of course, you have to eat all that jelly with the high fructose corn syrup to get to the glass....then the design on the glass could be of questionable paint.....

See...I can't stop myself.

9/7/07, 2:15 AM  
Blogger Mama Luxe said...

ACK!

Okay, is silicone still okay? Cause that's what the baby uses for pacis.

And the sippy cup thing has me freakin'. Are there sippy cups that are better than others? 'Cause my little one always hated the bottle and she's not quite ready for a cut without a spout.

ACK!

Can I put her in a bubble--wait, no, that's plastic. Darn it! =D

9/7/07, 9:25 AM  
Blogger Mama Luxe said...

Ah, I see Sigg makes sippies, too. I found them at BabyCenter!

Thanks for letting us all know about all this!

9/7/07, 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Jonathan, it's not just about us "alarmists" putting our money where our mouth is. It may sound like a bunch of tree-hugging hippy crap to you, but to me, where my children are concerned, I'm not taking the chance. And the solution (go out and buy some sturdy glass bottles or a plastic without BSA in it instead) isn't exactly a difficult thing to do. That's how I'm putting my money where my mouth is. I'll spend my $100 on glass or plastic without BSA in it rather than wait some 15 to 20 years to settle some bet with you over a Nobel Prize.

And it's not about getting the government to regulate a product out of existence. It's about getting products to be manufactured safely for consumption and use, without fear that some irresponsible schleprock isn't more concerned about his/her yearly bonus than they are about making toys, soap, or bottles without dangerous chemicals in them. You cannot deny that the recalls in the last few months have put parents on edge. It's funny that you call us alarmists when we've been faced with recall after recall just this year. Maybe we're just sick of being expected to blindly accept that the next! new! thing! is really safe for us and our families. If it takes some government intervention on behalf of the consumers in this country, then okay. But how many more items of everyday use do we have to find out are harmful before finally saying enough is enough and let's try to do better? It has to start somewhere, and that definitely doesn't make us alarmists.

9/7/07, 10:18 AM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

We have Born Free bottles, but Avent sippy cups. I think Born Free makes sippy cups too, so I guess it's time to switch.

My mother probably had a glass baby bottle. Maybe old-fashioned stuff isn't so bad....

9/7/07, 10:50 AM  
Anonymous M'lasses said...

I just noticed the applesauce serving cups are #7. I'm talking about the individual size cups that I (used to) put in my daughters lunch everyday, and the big 36qty I just bought at Costco two days ago!

Check your applesauce, and I bet that goes for all the individual fruit cups too.

Thanks, Mom101, for bringing this into a broader forefront. The news is slow to spread. Probably because their is so much money on the line. health... corporate money... corporate money... health. what a question!

(delurking after over a year of happy reading.)

9/7/07, 10:51 AM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

All of these "convienence" items like glad containers and plastic bottles turn out to be terrible for you.

I am at a loss.

9/7/07, 11:41 AM  
Blogger Fidget said...

like you am I pretty much a laissez-faire but the plastics issue scares the crap out of me, particular because my 5 yr old is autistic (which I think can be aggravated by toxic load). I'm trying to ween myself off of our plastic dinnerware.. it's not going well. Ive tossed all the plastic bottles, my son refuses to use them anyways

9/7/07, 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

M'lasses, the study says that the plastic breaks down, releasing BSA to be leached into food when it's heated. If you're not heating those applesauce cups, they're probably not as bad. Though yeah, it's scary just knowing that it's in there.

I've also noticed something about the plates I threw away last night: a lot of them are made in China. I wonder if the lead paint problem is an issue on them since they're all bright and cheery colors. Just a thought. I am going back to glass and ceramic dinnerware regardless.

9/7/07, 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Johnathan said...

Andrea addressed me directly, so I hope it's acceptable if I respond directly here.

Buy your glass bottles, Andrea, but don't act as if there is no price to pay for leaping to your feet every time that someone cries "wolf". The recent recalls have placed parents on edge, you say? Not this father of four. I know how science works, and maybe more importantly, how statistics work.

Hey, I even know how psychology works! If you worry too much about everything, you start losing your ability to respond proportionally to the things that really matter. What do you think is more harmful to a child, the risks of standard BSA exposure, or being raised in a "Danger lurks around every corner!" environment? And really, _who_ is expecting you to blindly accept the next new thing? I can't even begin to understand that mindset, but it sounds horribly (and pointlessly) adversarial.

(I'm not asking anyone to put any money in escrow for my bet. Your word (in front of these witnesses) is good enough for me. Think of it as a way to earn the _next_ hundred you'll need to replace your glassware when someone suggests that they too are dangerous! ("They break! People get cut and bleed!"))

9/7/07, 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Jonathan, I'm not going to get in a pissin' match over how I am processing this information as a parent. Notice I haven't made one comment about how I think YOU should handle this information. That's your choice. But I don't want to be belittled for mine just because I'm concerned, as are many of the other commenters here. And my concern (and that of other commenters) over this DOES NOT NECESSARILY EQUATE to a wolf cry over every little thing that comes out in some study or another, and I resent the assumption.

But I don't want to turn a blind eye either, and while I may not have spelled it out, touting my own understanding of science, I have read the paper on this study as provided in the link to environmentcalifornia.org Mom101 mentioned in this post, the ones having done this research. I have read where it says (on page 15 and 16 of the PDF document) that there is "inadequate information to determine whether the absorption... of bisphenol A is identical in rodents and humans. There is extensive evidence, however, that the sensitivity of tissues to bisphenol A in the animals used in experiments is virtually identical to the sensitivity of human tissues to bisphenol A."

That was enough to get me reading more. When I found out that certain jurisdictions in and around San Francisco have actually banned this stuff from use in manufacturing toys and child care articles, and that the entire state of California is likely to introduce similar legislation (link here) it is enough for me to take notice and make a fairly small, relatively inexpensive change in my house wherein MY family won't be using utensils, plates, bottles or cups made with this kind of plastic. Period. I assume the people making those laws in Cali are aware of how the science works and didn't change the laws regarding this plastic BSA business without doing a little research of their own.

As a responsible consumer, I have done enough research to satisfy myself about THIS study. I am not an alarmist and my refusal to take your silly bet doesn't make me less informed or mean I'm crying wolf.

9/7/07, 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Johnathan said...

"I haven't made one comment about how I think YOU should handle this information. That's your choice." Please, spare me. So if I read the study and conclude the risk is negligible compared to the convenience, and there's a manufacturer who wants to sell BSA bottles to me, you'll exempt us from the ban you want to see enacted? Which one of us is interested in interfering in the other's life?

THIS is why I care. If manufacturers go out of business because people like you are afraid, well, that's the risk _they_ take selling to a fickle public. But if they go out of business because people like you _legally prevent_ them from selling to willing consumers, then shame on you.

I'm not sure why my bet is silly, nor do I understand why you won't take me up on it. You insist I shouldn't read anything into you not taking it. Um, okay.

9/7/07, 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Then Jonathan? That's why you vote. Democracy, remember? Your point is well taken that not everyone will find this information disconcerting.

Who says a manufacturer has to go out of business in lieu of putting a product in the marketplace that they've researched to make sure it's safe? And what difference does it make to you if this particular kind of plastic is banned but a bottle is offered in a safer plastic with the same convenience? I'm saying more testing on the part of someone manufacturing products, especially those designed for our children, is not such a bad idea! So that we don't find out on the back side that something we've purchased could be toxic. I have a baby on the way, due in four months, and I don't have the time to wait for research on every single plastic to verify safety. The bottle manufacturer I prefer will be releasing glass just in time for my baby, so I have made my decision to buy glass and save myself some worry. But I'd hardly call that one choice raising my kids in an environment of "danger lurking around every corner".

Your bet is silly for several reasons, not the least of which is that a Nobel Prize is not awarded to every scientist or concept that has merit. There's plenty of scientific information out there that has merit beyond measure that has not been awarded a Nobel Prize. That doesn't mean it's not worthwhile.

Mom101, so sorry for having hijacked your comments, and thanks for providing the fodder. I'm done now.

9/7/07, 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Johnathan said...

I have no interest in further unwanted comment hijacking either. But I plan on responding to the latest points here, just after leaving another 24 hrs for other threads to develop. If there's nothing else serious going on in this space then, then it's hardly a hijacking.

9/7/07, 4:01 PM  
Blogger ~HJ said...

I said years ago that sooner or later everything is going to be either cancerous or fattening. It was around the time they said eggs were good again, remember the incredible edible egg? And I love how the food pyramid was etched in our brains in the 70's but they recently changed it. I was excited at first, but the bottom and biggest level didn't say chocolate.

9/7/07, 5:50 PM  
Blogger Marriage-101 said...

Once again getting my news from Mom-101. I hadn't heard about this! Crazy! I don't have kids but it's stuff like this that scares the bejeezus out of me.

9/7/07, 5:59 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Aha! It's my favorite libertarian contrarian (not to be confused with Marion Librarian, musical fans) Jonathan.

I gotta say, you sound a lot like me until fairly recently, so I'm going to cut you a little slack here. In fact, it took me several months after having read the study to poke around enough that I decided this was a legitimate concern.

There's a difference between being alarmist and sounding alarms. I think anyone who knows me (or paid good attention to the opening paragraphs of this post) knows that I'm anything but alarmist. But I've come to the conclusion that this is legitimate enough a concern (based on federal panel recommendations,blah blah) that it was worth sharing with my readers. If you--or they--choose to ignore it then by golly, go on your merry way, enjoy nuking your Avent bottles and laugh about me behind my back.

While I might be willing to gamble 100 bucks on the notion that BPA is not absolutely harmless in all its forms, I'm not willing to gamble my children's health on it. And if (as Andrea said) there's an easy fix to a harmful toxin - i.e. not heating foods in polycarbonate plastics - then what the heck. I'm game. I'll toss the Doc Browns and switch to Medelas.

I'd hate to bet my two kids against any two of your kids over who gets cancer first in twenty years.

We all as parents pick our concerns from among the many - growth hormones in milk, mercury in fish, newborn onesies not prewashed in Dreft. Regardless, what I'd like to think we can agree on is that maybe the federal agencies and trade organizations that we've been led to believe are out there to protect us should be doing just that.

I know you like having the last word so have at it. ;)

9/7/07, 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Johnathan said...

Hey now, I don't need the last word, just many words. :-)

Believe me, if you assumed the government more or less had our best interests at heart, then I am nothing like you. (I'm not a conspiracy theorist either. The world is the way it is for very pedestrian reasons.)

You are right that I wouldn't call you alarmist -- I was moved to use that word by some of the more "the sky is falling"-ish comments. Nevertheless, we disagree about how much concern is warranted. That's fine; reasonable people do all the time. Using your blog to pass along your concerns is not only sensible, but admirable. (Heck, I only had a dim knowledge of the subject until your post prompted me to dig deeper.)

But can you see that your "go on your merry way" statement is inconsistent with your "shouldn't things that can hurt kids be off the market altogether" query (comment #2)? Which one is the real you? If it's the former, I can respect that even if I fight you on the science of this particular issue. If it's the latter, though, well then shouldn't you be too busy with your campaigns to ban bicycles, Heelys, residential swimming pools, and the feeding of minors any foods larger than 1cm sq. as a choking hazard to be blogging? I mean, if it saves just one child's life,...

(What is it about my bet proposal that's so hard to understand? First of all, my kids are all breastfed and have rarely used bottles. But even if they were all-bottle all-day, I'm not asking anyone to gamble with their kids. I and my hypothetical adversaries would just be doing what we had already chosen to do with our kids, and merely be looking to pick up an extra hundred for stronger evidence of the rightness of our conclusion.)

I'm not sure how you evaluate the success or failure of agencies you think should be protecting you (and all of us). What's your standard? What is the total casualty count from products involved in the latest high profile recalls? Has Mattel killed/maimed more kids than, say Huffy? My suspicion (and I may be wrong here) is that you want to never be scared, and if something scares you, then by god someone has let you down! Additionally, chemicals scare you more than bikes, no matter home many more kids are killed/maimed by the latter than the former. Not exactly a sound basis for public policy.

I wish for nothing more than the happy long lives of your children and mine, and I am sure that exposure to BPA from machine-washed baby bottles will not alter the likelihood of that outcome one whit. Inform people about the evidence that has persuaded you as much as you want, but please leave them to act in accordance with their own conclusions about the risk/benefit tradeoffs involved, as I expect you would with bicycle ownership.

Just what are your hourly rental rates for this soapbox? ;-)

9/7/07, 11:18 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Johnathan (with an h)

I am both #1 and #2, to answer your question. If you don't think this is a worthy issue, then I'm happy to fight the good fight while you focus on Huffy bikes. As I said - picking battles. And this happens to be the one that captured my imagination. (Maybe because bikes are supposed involve a certain level of minor danger. Baby bottles are not.)

I'm also familiar with the phenomenon in which often issues that affect fewer people, compel us to act more than those that affect more people. I read Freakonomics too.

9/8/07, 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Johnathan said...

Okay, it's nice and quiet here now, trying to tie up loose ends with Andrea. And with no sarcasm either, if I can get through it.

A voluntary transaction between consenting adults shouldn't be up to a vote. Not a marijuana sale, not a negotiation with a prostitute, not buying a damn baby bottle with the number 7 on it.

You asked what difference it makes to me if this kind of plastic is banned but a bottle is offered in a safer plastic with the same convenience. The answer is: because a government that gives itself the right to ban transactions where no fraud is involved is a government with too much power. If there were a law preventing any solid food larger than 1 cm sq. from being fed to (or marketed as being appropriate for) children under 4, would you complain? After all, those foods kill dozens of kids in the US every year. Are you willing to measurably risk your child's life with each Goldfish and every Arrowroot Biscuit, but feel entitled to hermetic safety when bottle-feeding? Please, educate (see? I resisted the urge to use scare quotes) your friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens about the dangers (again!) you perceive, but let those who come to differing conclusions, including those who don't even think it's worth thinking about, continue to transact with these bottle sellers in peace. Boycott, don't ban.

I stated from the outset that the bet success criterion was the biggest sticking point, and asked for alternate suggestions. You're under no obligation to help suggest alternatives, but in failing to do so, you kind of lose the right to call the bet silly based on the criterion. (Here's an alternative: we can choose five reputable scientific journals, and see if an article gets published linking the exposure to bisphenol A leached from household plastics and adverse human health affects within ten years.) If you have any other reasons, I'd like to hear them. But only if you want to continue to bother. This back-and-forth may have already brought us past the point of marginal utility in your eyes.

9/8/07, 11:42 PM  
Blogger Lazy Mom said...

Where have I been? I haven't heard a thing about plastics! Hmmm...
Oh wait. I'm a lazy mom, so that's why.

9/9/07, 6:42 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

So much for all those Avent bottles I was saving for the second time around.

9/10/07, 6:55 AM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Johnathan, as I said before, your point that not everyone will find this information disconcerting is well taken.

"...because a government that gives itself the right to ban transactions where no fraud is involved is a government with too much power."

Ordinarily I would totally agree with that. I am not one of those people who thinks that our government should do our thinking for us. Far from it. However, as Mom101 said, there are federal organizations designed to protect us from just such a scenario, and if they're going to say, "Hey, we got your back," then I think they really should have my back on making sure consumer products are safe. I don't like to be blindsided after bottle feeding my son three years ago with the second-worst kind of bottle for this chemical leaching business.

Yes, I concede your argument that every parent has a different definition of safe. This doesn't raise your hackles like it does mine. Maybe that's because your kids were almost exclusively breast fed (as you stated above) and due to medical reasons, I am unable to breast feed and am forced to rely on bottles. It hits me different than it hits you. I see that.

Boycott over ban. Sure. I will. I'll be buying glass. I've thrown away all the plastic. I speak to manufacturers with my money as well as my mouth for something like this, especially considering I'll be using bottles again in just a few short months. But is that really going to be enough to make a difference? For me and my kids, yes. If there are already agencies set up just for this sort of thing, why is it unreasonable for me (and some of the others) to ask them to do what they purport they already do, so that even the parents who aren't aware of this study don't have to buy plastic bottles that has potential to be harmful?

And hey, I'm always up for a good debate. You have valid points, and I'm not saying you don't. But so do I.

9/10/07, 9:31 AM  
Blogger Thirty-One Trendy said...

ok - I'm freaking out because my ids are 3 and 5. We used avent & dr. brown bottles AND pacifiers and of course everything went in the dishwasher. My kids probably glow in the dark at night.

9/10/07, 10:53 AM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

Oh. My. God. Should I feel better that it's been YEARS since my kids drank from a bottle? Or worse?

9/10/07, 11:02 AM  
Blogger M&S Franco said...

Thanks for this post on plastics. I had also been hearing the buzz about BPA in the previous few weeks but chose to mostly ignore it, because, well frankly, it’s too damn hard to try to sort out which freak-outs are worth paying attention to anymore. As a research scientist I’m generally quite skeptical when I hear that a new study found another way in which we humans are destroying ourselves and our world, because I know that most of these studies are either taken entirely out of context or are completely irrelevant regardless of context (sorry tax-payers, but it’s true - you’re funding a lot of shitty research). And I particularly hate the fact that this information usually comes to us first in one or another form of propaganda that rarely even approximates truth. But as a parent I’m now forced to give a little more earnest heed to some of the issues that I might have previously shrugged off. So now when some funnylady on the internet blogs about being freaked out by plastics, I have to spend all weekend trying to read the research articles to figure out if I should be freaked out too. Damn you, Mom-101; why couldn’t you just tell us another hilarious story about competimommies?

So I tried. I tried my best to read the primary literature on BPA and decide for myself if I should be worried. I analyze research articles every day for my job, so I figured it wouldn’t take too long to read the papers and come to the conclusion that I can happily continue ignoring which number is inside the little triangle. But it turns out there are like 1000 published articles out there on BPA. And it also turns out that this weekend was the beginning of the NFL regular season. So there was no way I could read all those papers. Fortunately, 38 of the world’s leading BPA researchers did read them all, and last month the Chapel Hill BPA Expert Panel finally published their consensus report in the journal Reproductive Toxicology (I’m guessing most people don’t have this one on their nightstands next to Harry Potter, so here’s a link to download the pdf). If you’re really interested in the subject, I’d suggest reading this document, as it’s probably the most unbiased and definitely the most informed source around. Unfortunately, even the document you have linked in your post from Environment California is heavy on the propaganda; notice it’s written by a lawyer, not a scientist.

I don’t want to summarize their findings here, but I do want to point out a couple of interesting things they found that nobody seems to be talking about. They agreed with high confidence that human exposure to BPA is widespread and that 95% of people sampled from various countries are exposed to BPA levels within the range that is predicted to be biologically active. Also, because BPA does not persist long-term in the environment or in our bodies, studies indicate that human exposure must be continuous. So most interesting to me is the panel’s conclusion that “Known sources of human exposure to BPA do not appear sufficient to explain levels measured in human tissues and fluids.” In other words, humans are probably continuously exposed to biologically active levels of BPA, and the sources that people are talking about (baby bottles, water bottles, food containers, canned food, landfill leaching, etc.) can’t explain these levels of exposure.

So do we need to freak out about giving our kids’ products made of polycarbonate? It seems like it’s still quite a bit premature for that. However, if you do have the luxury of not using these products, this might be a good time to err on the side of caution. What bothers me most, though, is that if the panel is correct, baby bottles and canned foods seem like a drop in the huge bucket of BPA. So, unfortunately, I can’t answer your question of what we can do about it. Maybe instead of activating our rings we should just follow Zan and Jayna back to Exxor. ;o)

9/10/07, 12:19 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

m&s franco - I love you.

9/10/07, 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Johnathan said...

m&s franco, thanks for sharing that link. That sure is some dry reading there. Looks like everyone who just threw out their plastic bottles and such will be glad to know that their children can now enjoy, well, statistically similar exposure and circulating blood levels of bisphenol A as they would have otherwise. Bonus question for those proposing/supporting a ban: how many millions of dollars would it have cost to get all baby bottle manufacturers to retool their production processes to come into compliance with such a ban, all for nothing?

9/11/07, 12:10 AM  
Blogger Fraulein said...

One (hopefully) calming thought from my husband, an MIT-educated electronics engineer who has done extensive work with plastics: Mr. Fraulein maintains that even with the evil number 7 bottles, the risk of chemical leaching is greatly diminished if you don't heat up the bottles directly. As long as you heat the milk or formula, say, in a pan on the stove, and then transfer it to the bottle directly before feeding, the risk is minimized (which is not to say it's not there at all, of course). I think it's still best to avoid products containing bisphenol A, but apparently the plastics containing it break down over time, so use over short periods is less of a problem. My husband worked for many years designing scientific instruments that measure the properties of materials including plastics, so he knows quite a bit about this issue. I was panicked when I read about this recently, and realized that our daughter had used the Playtex VentAire bottles as an infant -- those are on the list of bottles containing this chemical. But since she always liked her formula cold, we never heated it up, and according to my husband, this means we don't have to worry so much.

But I'm still going out and buying a home lead tester for the toys!

9/11/07, 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh anyone heard of breastfeeding?....there's no plastic involved!

10/8/07, 2:33 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Anon 10/8:

Here's a wacky concept - you can both exclusively breastfeed AND use bottles.

Now I'll let you just mull on that one and see if you can figure it out.

10/8/07, 4:17 PM  
Blogger Mommapeas said...

This is the response I received from Gerber with my questions as to which of their products were BPA-free.

We are aware of recent media reports focusing on polycarbonate and Bisphenol A (BPA). Bisphenol A is a key component used to make polycarbonate plastic. We would like to help consumers understand why leading manufacturers of baby bottles, including Gerber, have concluded that polycarbonate is safe.

The US and Drug Administration (FDA) has considered relevant data available regarding the use of polycarbonate and has concluded that products made with polycarbonate are safe for use as intended.

Additionally, other leading scientific and regulatory authorities in Europe have concluded that he use of food contact polycarbonate for baby bottles is safe. In a recent letter to Fit Pregnancy magazine, the FDA stated that it sees no reason to ban or otherwise restrict the currently authorized food contact applications of polycarbonate..

The following Gerber cups are made of polycarbonate:

Premium Feeding System- Transition Cup 7 oz
2-handle Graduates Fun Grips Soft Starter Spill-Proof 6 oz Cup
NUK® Learner Cup

If you have additional questions or concerns, please call 1-800-4-GERBER and refer to File No. 009909999A. Our representatives are available any time day or night to assist you.

Best wishes from your friends @ gerber.com.


Thanks for inspiring me to look into it a bit further!

10/15/07, 1:06 PM  
Blogger mrs.g said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/17/07, 12:32 PM  
Blogger caz said...

I haven't read through all of the posts here, so I apologize if someone already suggested this. But further up on the posts, Mom101 asked what we can do about this. I'm not sure what we can do that will really work, but a suggestion in an article that I found said to contact manufacturers and ask them to start using safer alternatives. There's a possibility that if we started a grassroots campaign of emailing or petitioning the companies might start listening. Maybe we can organize through the Moms Speak Up forum that was mentioned here in an earlier post.

I read Gerber's response to an email (above) and wasn't impressed. The National Geographic article that I read said that all the studies conducted by scientists funded by the plastics industry showed 100% NON-leaching. The studies funded by the government showed 90%leaching. So industry responses that these plastics are safe haven't convinced me yet.

Does anyone think organizing and speaking up would work or is that too "pie in the sky"?

10/17/07, 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Leslie said...

I have enjoyed reading all the comments here regarding BPA. I read many articles on this matter before I birthed my son, who is now 8 months old. I am an exclusive BF'er and am so proud of this. I am worried about other things though. My son was in the NICU for a brief time when he was born and they introduced the pacifier to him (we were not going to use them) and it seems to be such a lifesaver sometimes...but now I am worried that they may be unsafe.

ALSO, I have been feeding him GERBER organic baby food since he was 6 months. There is not a big variety available in glass jars, so I have been purchasing the plastic containers which have the number 7 on the bottom (just recently discovered this). I called Gerber today and the 'call center woman' informed me that the containers did not contain BPA. I just find this hard to believe. She said that the containers are made from a combination of plastics but she can assure me that there is no BPA in there.

I went to the http://bisphenolafree.org/ website and saw the numbers to avoid and there is a side note saying that SOME #7 containers that are made with BIO-based plastics are ok. SO, how do we know which are ok????

ALSO, our water pipes are made of PVC...so do you drink water from your house? Or cook with water? Something else I have to antagonize over. My whole pregnancy, I thought I was doing so well drinking all my bottled water. So, do you think the water you can buy in the milk jugs is safer than tap or the BPA water bottles? I agree that I don't want the government involved in every decision I make, but I think there SHOULD be stricter guidelines and regulations that manufacturers should comply with. Maybe OSHA should step in here?

I really hate it that I can't get my son the toys I wanted to get him for Christmas because I don't know if the plastic they made of is safe AND if the paint on them is lead or not. I know someone said you can buy a lead paint detector, but why should *I* have to be the one to test the safety of the toys??? I think that should fall on the shoulders of the manufacturers....but foreign countries are not regulated like the US. And I don't think they care....bottom line is more important.

This is a great blog!!!! It is so nice to learn other moms out there are as anal and worried as I am.

11/18/07, 5:50 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Oh Leslie, I wish I could email you. You sound so panicked and I want to talk you down and hug you and maybe shake you just a little.

I'm sure your child's early days made you a bit skittish, but a life lived in fear isn't one worth living. You sound utterly distraught and it saddens me. I think you need to know that the world your baby is in is more safe than not.

Gerber Organics: Personally, I'd go with Earth's Best because I still have a mistrust of "organics" from huge companies. But I don't worry about those containers which are soft. BPA plastics are hard, like baby bottles.

But more importantly, the issue is that BPAs can leak "when consistently heated at high temperatures." If you're really worried, put the baby food into a bowl first before you heat it. That also means you don't need to worry about your pipes. And you don't necessarily need to worry about plastic toys in general. (Lead issues aside.)

If you're really worried about the toys you get him, here are some great suggestions. And know that US Standards are not the end all-be all. Europe has exceedingly high standards and if you're buying toys made in France, Germany, the Czech republic... you can rest easy.

Your baby is lucky you love him so damn much.

11/18/07, 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Leslie said...

Dear Mom101,
Thank you so much for your kind words and for your concern!! :)
I feel SOOO much better today than I did last night/early this morning. I couldn't sleep as you could tell, knowing I had given my baby food from containers with the #7 on them. I never heated any of his food, and I only feed him out of glass dishes we have here at home (I thought it was a waste of money to buy all that cutesy plastic baby ware that would just take up more cabinet space!! HA)

I was upset cause I just bought a whole slew of new baby food on Friday BUT today I took it all back and swapped it for ALL Earth's Best baby food IN JARS!!!!!!! YIPPEEE!!! I am still contemplating just making all of his food myself, but the containers make it so much easier when out and about and also traveling.

Also, I had just bought a new thing of Mustela baby wash (I thought this was a safer alternative to the Johnson's baby wash which has ingredients that cause cancer...but looking at the Skin Deep website, I looked up Mustela and it causes cancer too!!!! UGH!!!) SO, I bought some Earth's Best baby wash...I have some California baby here at home..I just liked the smell of the Mustela!

It was funny when I returned all this stuff cause the girl at the store asked me what was wrong with the food and I told her the containers were made from an unsafe plastic and then she asked me if the same reason went for the baby wash...I said, "No, it causes cancer". HA HA HA!!! She must have thought I was a paranoid FREAK!!! I don't care! I am just trying to protect my baby as much as humanly possible.

You would probably laugh if I told you that I bought some disposable lab coats for my in-laws and my parents to wear when they came to visit our son in the hospital. Both of our parents smoke and I read several articles on the harmfulness of 3rd hand smoke(this is the residue that gets on your clothes, in your hair and on your furniture and everything else). I didn't want them holding my brand new baby with smoky residue all over their clothes, so I purchased special garments to put on over their clothes...LOL!!!! :)

Well, I guess I have written another book. I truly appreciate your kind words...and your concern! :) I could feel your {{{HUG}}} through your sweet tone!

I feel so much better now!!! Also, the MAM pacifiers are silicone or latex and they meet the requirements of the European Standard.

I am still concerned about the PVC pipes that our water runs through. I guess you can only do as much as you can and pray about the rest, huh??

Thank you again!

11/18/07, 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Hypertufa Gardener said...

Yeah after yesterday plastic bottles have me a little freaked out too!

My brother told me about the recall on the #7 plastic. Those big water cooler bottles are a #7 and I was quick to return those and get my refund. After talking to my wife we are gonna eliminate all plastic in our house all together and stick with glass.

You know the funny thing with technology is that yes technology increases are great but if you think of the past there were never really all kinds of illness's I beleive. If you take into account the technology towards medicine and advanced reasearch has increased the lifespan of people, people live longer now.

But if you look into what people create in words of technology and products that is what's causing so much health problems. We're are own problem makers. Yes technology is great but not to the extent to diseases and health issues. I was shocked to hear about the plastic recall but not really. For years people have talked about plastic and the effects that people thought it wasn't good. Well now look what has finally been brought out to the media with the recall. And if you think about it in like chemistry, when you heat something it causes a chemical reaction to happen, same with plastic, breaks down and being released into our bodies.

Well we are turning to a plastic free home as much as we can. Can't eliminate all but we'll try as plastic is all around us.

Sincerely,

Jamie Boyle
Hypertufa Gardener
http://hypertufagardening.blogspot.com

4/23/08, 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey,
Just wanted everyone to realize how severe this is regarding the plastic #7...Everything is packaged in #7: individual applesauce-many brands, fruits-all brands, raisins, etc. It will take a major change in Washington to force all those companies to change their distribution of items in this harmful plastic.

5/5/08, 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that the #7 recycling label is a catchall indicator for plastics made with a resin other than those in the #1 to #6 designations, and/or made of more than one resin. The #7 category not only includes polycarbonate, but also includes compostable plastics made of organic material and other types of plastic that do not necessarily contain BPA (Bisphenol-A). Recycling centers do not recycle #7 plastics.

5/9/08, 1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you about the everything is bad for you if you read enough about it, but what really bugs me is that they didn't worry about all this stuff our parents were kids and hell even when I was born in 85. Granted I'm not from "back in the day" but at least they didn't have all the random b.s they try to come out with now. One example for you: 2 months ago eggs were good for you, now they aren't how long till they are again.. It's all about the money and trying to scare us into whatever they say and want us to do/be....

5/10/08, 10:56 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Anon 1056 in fairness, there have always been things to worry about, from alar to red dye # whatever, to artificial sweeteners. Now there's just more information more readily available. And there are also more problematic toxins in our world as consumers demand convenience and low cost over healthfulness. I don't think this is quite the same as whether eggs are good for you.

5/11/08, 9:01 PM  
Blogger ashleyalvina said...

I'm not even a mom yet (nor will I be one in the near future...not unless I'm the next Mary), but this blog is one of the most refreshing that I've read in awhile - I so enjoy your writing style and 'voice'.

As for me, I have spent the past 2 years drinking at least 6 large glasses of water per day, 5 days a week...at work, from the #7 plastic water bottles at my office. Uh oh. :) As a dear friend of mine quipped the other day, "I'm not so much wondering *if* I'll get cancer...more just wondering which type of cancer I'll get."

thanks again for brightening my day,
ashley

5/21/08, 4:59 PM  
Blogger Mr. Love said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/25/08, 1:20 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

MR Love - the answer is yes, you're going to die. We all die eventually.

Will you die from drinking Arizona tea out of #7 jugs? probably not - although repeatedly washing the jugs in the dishwasher and using them might not be the best course of action.

5/25/08, 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pediasure and Nutripals in 8 oz bottles are marked with the nuber 7. These are supposed to be vitamin supplements not BPA SUPPLEMENTS!!!
When will Abbott change this? Let's write to them...
Abbott Nutrition
Consumer Relations
625 Cleveland Ave
Columbus, Ohio 43215
800-227-5767

9/19/08, 11:39 AM  
Blogger tat2dbabymama said...

i was horrified when i got done feeding my daughter to see that damn 7 on the bottom of a gerber container. now i'm pissed a huge company like that would store food in an unsafe container. i also use the playtex drop in system what kind of bottles should i switch to?

10/1/08, 10:36 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

tat2, the issue is, as I understand it, the repeated heating/washing of the plastic which breaks down the components. It's unlikely that the gerber container is an issue, but if you're worried, you can dump it into a dish before heating. Or switch to jarred baby foods like Earth's Best.

It also seems that the Playtex drop ins are okay, but if you want a "safer" choice, try adiri, medela, the new Dr Brown's BPA free bottles...there are a lot more, even since I first wrote this!

10/1/08, 10:50 PM  
Anonymous RecycleGirl said...

There are WAY bigger things to worry about in parenting than plastic! Like, who is teaching our kids and who they sit next to in the lunchroom, for starters. I won't even get into TV!

Though Mom101's postings are quippy (to be expected from an ad-industry writer) doesn't mean the facts are well covered. In this case they aren't - at all How do I know? How about 5 yrs working for the nation's leading plastics recycling collection service? I actually know, for a fact, what the numbers in the triangles mean - and sadly it's NOT what you've been reading here!

The ACTUAL meaning of the #7 SPI code is OTHER (want a complete definition of #'s 1-7? Google "SPI Codes".) That means ANY plastic that is not a standard consumer recyclable; ie: most durable, non-disposable plastics; acrylic, melamine, SAN, bio-plastics, new co-polysters and the hundreds of blended or double layered plastics - and of course, polycarbonate - the ONLY plastic that uses BPA in production.

So, before you freak out and listen to someone who's basis is advertising (because advertising is ALWAYS factual-- right?) do a smidgen of research. Anyone posting that all #7's are bad, quite honestly, is just perpetuating bad information.

But I'm being a bit harsh! The entire news media jumped on this story, reported it VERY inaccurately (if they can't figure out the simple meaning of the SPI codes - literally 5th grade stuff -- how accurate is the rest of the story, hmm...?) then promptly dropped it when the European, US and - yes, even Canada, came out in July with a re-reviewed, re-tested, conclusion that BPA is safe. Did anyone see that news report? Of course not, no one covered it. On to new stories to freak us out!

I know everyone here is skeptical of the FDA, and many often look to Europe as the higher standard. Well, the EU's latest final conclusion states BPA represents "no health or environmental concern".

Well, that's the latest FACTS on BPA and polycarbonate products - and I hope that makes someone a little less worried about #7. And even if you want to avoid BPA regardless of the latest safety assurances, avoiding all #7's is ridiculous. Just avoid polycarbonate, but don't complain when you stuff breaks - because polycarbonate is the only truly unbreakable plastic.

10/12/08, 5:42 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Recyclegirl, I know I'm not a credible source because I'm just some dumbfuck who works in advertising whose sole purpose in life is to make you buy crap you don't need, but I'm not sure that someone employed by the plastic industry is a whole heck of a lot more credible here.

So don't take it from me...

The National Toxicology Program, which is the scientific advisory program for the FDA, contradicted the original FDA findings that BPA is "safe." This article is dated Sept 5, 2008. It is indeed the most research there is.

Here's the direct link to the Nat'l Institute of Environmental Health Science which concludes: The NTP has some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.

Oh by the way, know what else is fifth grade stuff? Knowing the difference between who's and whose.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

10/12/08, 6:47 PM  
Anonymous RecycleGirl said...

No problemo! To clarify - I'm in RECYCLING, not selling plastics. And we don't even pick up the many different plastics that may have #7 - that's my whole point. There are lots of them and only ONE uses BPA in production. But you've collected all of them up under the banner of "bad" based on BPA and that's 100% wrong.

And, sorry for the spelling/usage typo - but I can spell SPI Codes.

If you do a simple search on that, you'll see that, as far as accuracy goes, the title for the article is misleading as to the "safety" of a huge number of widely different -- and widely used -- plastics. The title, and other things said about the 7# "OTHER", plastics have been taken by readers (according to the comments)as gospel - and much is simply wrong.

So here's the 5th grade stuff you asked for...

In short, SPI Codes, the nos. 1-7 in triangles on the bottom of some - not all - platic items, simply indicate the plastic (more formally, the plastic resin or predominant resin) used to make the item. 1-3 are commonly recycled resins in curbside collections; 4-6 are becoming more commonly collected. 7 is everything else - comprising many, many completely different types of plastics, blends, etc... mostly used for items that are not one-time use, rather, intended for long life. Of these only ONE, polycarbonate, uses BPA in production.

So, that's the 5th grade breakdown on #7. Any residential recycling collection brochure will list this SPI code information if you want to fact-check. Oh, it's also in my daughter's 5th grade science book.

You have a great blog (as you know!). This is the only issue I've ever responded to -- because I know recycling and the plastics industry as recyclable plastic collection has been my career. I felt that the attack on all items marked #7 was unfair to your readers as it creates undue worries about the things they use.

The BPA question will continue, I'm sure, as long as scientists want to autoclave bottles to the point of breakdown (ie: heat to sterilization for the equivalent of 5 boiling hours under several atmospheres of pressure - oh, some glass melts in that condition, too) -- regardless of FDA, EU, NSF, and the many other federal and independent lab repeated conclusions as to safety. Tenure, anyone?

Personally, I like my unbreakable glasses in polycarbonate and we'll keep on using them -- haven't grown a 3rd arm or noticed changes in my anus placement yet (read the NTP report on that one). I'll post again with the exact wording and a link to the EU's final conclusion safety statement, since you like the exact wording - just to be accurate.

But, in the spirit of helpfulness - which really is the intention of my post - if readers want to find BPA-free replacements for polycarbonate glasses; try US-made Bentley ColorWare (SAN plastic), or Multi (PP) - also US-made. KidSmartLiving.com carries both of these, along with some others, and they also label all of their items as to the type of plastic, unlike most other stores, that should be valuable info per reader posts.

Last, sorry if I had another typo, I did try - rellay eye dod :-) !!

10/12/08, 10:45 PM  
Anonymous RecycleGirl said...

As promised... the side of the BPA argument the media does not seem interested in... just in the interest of full disclosure.

"there is no threat at all to humans from plastic bottles, nor from the many other consumer products that contain BPA." (4-9-08) - The American Council on Science & Health

Next... from the 300+ page European Commission Updated European Risk & Assessment Report: (you say above earlier, Europe has higher standards, well, here they are...)

4.1.3.3.1 Summary of risk characterisation for consumers: The risk characterisation for consumers leads to conclusion (ii *below) for all the endpoints as consumer exposure is very low.

Conclusion (ii)
5.1.2 Human health (risks from physico-chemical properties): There is at present no need for further information and/or testing or for risk reduction measures beyond those which are being applied already.

There are no significant risks from physico-chemical properties.


And, last, here's the full text of the abstract conclusions from NTP's Sept 2008 statement; these are the other parts you didn't include above. Sorry! I'm a FOX girl - fair & balanced...

The NTP has some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A. (as you state above)

The NTP has minimal concern for effects on the mammary gland and an earlier age for puberty for females in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bissphenol A.

The NTP has negligible concern that exposure of pregnant women to bisphenol A will result in fetal or neonatal mortality, birth defects, or reduced birth weight and growth in their offspring.

The NTP has negligible concern that exposure to bisphenol A will cause reproductive effects in non-occupationally exposed adults and minimal concern for workers exposed to higher levels in occupational settings.


So, at worst, "some, minimal, negligible" risk will not make me toss our plastic bottles & glasses. Now, about the radiation I just absorbed from the screen writing this... I'll bet there's a study somewhere...

10/13/08, 2:09 PM  

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