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Plastic Baby Bottles

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Plastics may be recyclable, but are they safe? Plastic baby bottles have been a major focus of plastic safety issues since May 1999, when Consumer Reports published the article "Baby Alert," which examined the potential of bisphenol-A (BPA) to leach from polycarbonate plastic into liquid at higher temperatures

Plastics may be recyclable, but are they safe? Plastic baby bottles have been a major focus of plastic safety issues since May 1999, when Consumer Reports published the article "Baby Alert," which examined the potential of bisphenol-A (BPA) to leach from polycarbonate plastic into liquid at higher temperatures. The article cited Dr. Frederick vom Saal, professor of biology at the University of Missouri, who studied BPA and its estrogen-mimicking effects in 1998. Low doses of BPA fed to pregnant lab mice caused a variety of damage to the offspring, causing vom Saal to conclude that "We have the threat of a chemical that in an adult is not necessarily harmful, but in a developing fetus or a newborn poses a very unique and very serious danger."

BPA is a chemical material in polycarbonate plastic that is used mainly in baby bottles. Baby bottle manufacturers claim the tests on BPA leaching from plastic, which included boiling bottles with liquid for 30 minutes, did reflect normal consumer use of the product. George Pauli of the US Food and Drug Administration has said that BPA will only leach from polycarbonate under extreme conditions. "With baby bottles, we haven't been able to detect bisphenol-A if we use reasonable extraction techniques."

So what's a parent to do? To minimize risk, avoid overheating bottles with breast milk or formula inside, and never warm a bottle in the microwave. Studies indicate that microwaved food contains both molecules and energies not present in normally cooked food. For example, in one study on microwaved baby formula, an amino acid, l-proline, was converted into its d-isonomer form, which is known to be toxic to the nervous system and kidneys. Early Russian research unpublished by medical or nutritional journals in the West indicates that microwaving food generally forms carcinogens and decreases nutritional value. Lastly, microwaving can leave the contents of the bottle hot in some areas and scald the baby. Pour liquids into the bottles just before use instead of storing them inside. If you would rather not take any chances, switch to glass bottles.

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