New Study Shows Bottles Leach Dangerous Chemical When Heated
On Thursday, Maine health and environmental organizations released a national study of baby bottles tested for the toxic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA). Bottles from across the United States and Canada, including one bottle purchased in Topsham, Maine, were tested and shown to leach BPA when heated. Ninety-five percent of all baby bottles on the market are made with BPA.
Parents and environmental organization responded to the report with a demand for action. Elisa Boxer, a parent from Scarborough stated, “It’s outrageous that our babies are being exposed to toxic chemicals every time we heat their bottles. Yet manufacturers aren’t required to tell us what dangerous chemicals they are using. The studies are clear – now it’s time for action to be taken.”
BPA, a synthetic hormone that mimics estrogen, is used to make hard polycarbonate plastic. Studies conducted on laboratory animals and cell cultures link BPA to breast cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses, even at low doses. The results of the U.S. study show that when new bottles are heated, those manufactured by Avent, Evenflo, Dr. Brown’s and Disney/First Years leached between 4.7 – 8.3 parts per billion of BPA, well above the level considered dangerous.
Parents say they are particularly frustrated because safer alternatives exist but BPA remains on the market and in regular use in everyday consumer products, including many children’s products. Amy Graham, a parent from Farmington stated, “We’re poisoning our kids and we don’t have to be. As with so many toxic chemicals in use today, there are safer alternatives to bisphenol-A. It would be irresponsible not to require their replacement. We’re calling on the Maine Legislature to help us protect our kids.”
Environmental health advocates are calling on the Maine Legislature to pass LD 2048, a new bill that would enable Maine to prioritize the worst toxic chemicals that are found in children’s products and require safer alternatives to be used when they are available and effective. Mike Belliveau, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, believes the new report gives momentum to the proposed bill. He stated, “Maine lawmakers have a golden opportunity to help fix our broken chemical safety system. Passing this bill sends a common-sense message to manufacturers: Tell us what dangerous chemicals are in your products and offer safer alternatives to protect children’s health.”
The full study, “Baby’s Toxic Bottle: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular Baby Bottles,” is available to download here.
The study, “Baby’s Toxic Bottle: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular Baby Bottles,” was commissioned by Environmental Defence of Canada and researched by the laboratory of Frederick vom Saal, PhD., at the University of Missouri. It contributes to a growing body of evidence that calls for immediate protective action to reduce public exposure to BPA, especially for infants and children.
In addition to baby bottles, BPA is used to make hard plastic used in some toddler sippy cups, polycarbonate water bottles such as some Nalgene bottles, dental sealants, and the linings of many food and beverage cans, including all infant formulas. There are no existing safety standards regulating BPA under U.S. laws, even for products used by infants and young children.
Nine states, including Maine, have introduced legislation that could restrict the use of BPA in children’s products. A proposal to phase out the use of BPA, championed by Representative Jon Hinck (D- Portland), was considered by the Maine Legislature last year.
This year the Maine Legislature is considering LD 2048, “An Act to Protect Children’s Health and the Environment from Toxic Chemicals in Toys and Children’s Products”. This bill creates a five-step process to replace toxic chemicals in children’s products with safer alternatives.
1. Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) focuses on chemicals known by best science to cause harm.
2. Maine DEP prioritizes the worst of the worst chemicals that threaten the health of children.
3. Product manufacturers disclose which priority chemicals are in their children’s products; this information becomes available for consumers and retailers.
4. If safer alternatives are identified, replacement is required within three years.
5. Maine joins other states to create and maintain an Interstate Clearinghouse of information on toxic chemicals and safer alternatives.
Parents can take action immediately to protect their children’s health by contacting their State Legislators in support of LD 2048 and by choosing safer products, including plastic baby bottles made without BPA or glass baby bottles. BPA-free baby bottles are available from companies including Born Free, Medela, and Adiri.
The U.S. version of “Baby’s Toxic Bottle” was written by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, and Clean Water Action, in collaboration with Environment Defense, and released in the U.S. by a broad coalition of public health and environmental non-governmental organizations including: Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine, Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Boston Common Asset Management, Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Health, Environment and Justice, Clean New York, Clean Water Action, Environment America, Environmental Health Fund, Healthy Legacy, Learning Disabilities Association of America, MOMS (Making Our Milk Safe), Oregon Environmental Council, and US PIRG.