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BPA-Free Doesn't Do it for Me

Updated on September 2, 2014

BPA-Free Baby Bottles

These baby bottles are BPA-Free, but are they the best option for feeding your baby?
These baby bottles are BPA-Free, but are they the best option for feeding your baby? | Source

Are BPA-Free Products Best?

As I strolled through the baby goods aisle of one of my favorite stores, I noticed a large, bright green sign by the sippy cups boasting the fact that they are all made of BPA-free plastics. Over the past few years, this "BPA-free" label has become a fashionable badge that attracts many a health conscious parent. But are BPA-Free products always the healthiest options?

What is BPA, anyway?

BPA stands for bisphenol A, an industrial chemical commonly used in plastic production in the United States and many other parts of the world. We and our children can be exposed to BPA found in plastic bottles, food containers, and even the lining of canned foods. The problem is that all this exposure to BPA increases our risk of suffering numerous health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, abnormal endocrine development, and now, it seems, even obesity.

So I should always buy the BPA-Free plastic products then, right?

Not necessarily! While the elimination of BPA is certainly a step in the right direction, it does not make the plastic product completely safe. In fact, all plastics contain chemicals that are similar to BPA in that they increase the risk of abnormal endocrine development, and likely other health hazards as well. Carl Baum, MD, the Director of the Center for Children's Environment Toxicology has stated that some of these other chemicals present in BPA-Free plastics may be even more dangerous than BPA!

But wait, I can't cut ALL plastics out of my life!

Exactly. In so much of our daily lives, plastics serve necessary purposes. For many of us, it would be impossible to reduce our exposure to BPA and other chemicals found in plastics all the way down to zero. In my household, it's not about the elimination of plastic usage; it's about reduction whenever possible.

Here are some steps that I have personally taken to reduce my family's exposure to plastics:

  1. I use glass products whenever possible. One day, my husband and I threw all of our plastic lunch and leftover containers in the recycling bin, thus forcing us to slowly replace it all with glass alternatives.
  2. I seek out stainless steel. When she was a baby, my little one used stainless steel baby bottles. Now, she loves drinking out of her shiny stainless steel cups!
  3. I choose cartons over cans. Until about a year ago, I had no idea that the cans containing my favorite soups and beans were lined with BPA-containing plastics! Now, I choose alternatives housed in cardboard cartons.
  4. I use cloth bags for storing snacks. You can wash and reuse these handy cloth baggies too, which ends up saving some cash!

So, while choosing a BPA-Free product is certainly better than grabbing a plastic not labeled as such, it may be worth your while to check out non-plastic alternatives, too. It's these little steps we can take every day that will help our families live healthier lives in the long run!

Other Alternatives to Plastic?

I would love to learn about more alternatives to plastic products! Please write your suggestions in the comments!

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