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Most plastics today, and the invisible coating inside the cans containing canned vegetables, fruits, and soups, contain bisphenol-A, which is a synthetic estrogen and, if it accumulates in animals, humans, shellfish, whatever -- can have hormonally disruptive effects. These plastic items include baby bottles, baby toys, you name it. But there are alternatives emerging.

Here's a website giving information for new parents, with recommendations. I'm pasting in the initial part of the "Recommendations" section, then the link to the whole thing.


Teethers. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has created a Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel, which the agency hopes will report in about a year on the safety of PVC, phthalates, and alternative substances. Meanwhile, we recommend that parents of young children follow the commission's advice to dispose of all PVC teethers and soft toys used by infants "as a precaution," and to replace them with items that are phthalate-free.

To increase your chance of finding phthalate-free items, shop at one of the stores that have pledged to stop selling heavily mouthed baby products with phthalates, including Kmart, Sears, Target, Toys "R" Us, and Wal-Mart.

If you shop elsewhere, avoid using the item until you call the manufacturer's toll-free number you'll find on the product packaging. Return the item to the store if it isn't phthalate-free.

Baby bottles. Just to be safe, to avoid any possible exposure to bisphenol-A we advise parents of young children to dispose of polycarbonate baby bottles and replace them with bottles made of glass or polyethylene, an opaque, less-shiny plastic that does not leach bisphenol-A.

Unfortunately, plastic baby bottles do not explicitly indicate that they're made of polycarbonate. But there are some ways you can tell; see "What to Do," below. Or you could call the manufacturer's toll-free number, listed on the package.

A young scientist/new mother discusses her conflicts, anxieties, choices....

Here's an article from the Environmental Working Group just written last month discussing the problem, focusing especially on baby bottles.

One thing they note is that "In the United States, Dr. Brown's brand baby bottles had the highest leaching of bisphenol-A whereas Avent had the lowest."

There's a variety of recommendations at the end of the article, plus some additional reading sources.

Another additive to look out for is anything in the paraben family--methylparaben, etc. They're preservatives commonly used in skin care products, and they're also estrogenic. Some companies have begun making products that are paraben-free. add a dose of reassurance....I raised my kids with Huggies and all. Plastic bottles--but we didn't have a dishwasher, so the temperatures weren't hot enough to damage the surface and facilitate leaching. Of course, if all of this information had been available then, my choices would have been different! But my kids (27 and 22) don't seem to have any health problems or abnormalities.

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