Have you given any thought to your sippy cup situation?
It took a long time before it dawned on me, I was pouring boiling water into a plastic cup, but how safe was it to be re-using, re-washing and re-filling this plastic cup with boiling water three times a day.
The BPA free thing is almost taken for granted now, I assumed it meant my plastics were totally safe, but it is still plastic, still full of a whole host of other nasties having their gender bending and toxic effects on all of us.
When the time came to use a cup, we started with the doidy cup above. Probably a bit gimmicky, the slanted design lets the baby see the water level, it also means you can’t store water in it which could be a good thing.
We then bought a Tommee Tippee sippy cup. Filled up in the morning with freshly boiled water and then left in my handbag until lunchtime to leach to it’s hearts content. After a couple of months use the plastic also started to look a bit dull and worn, eroded almost, and if the plastic was in some way being broken down, where was it all going? Probably into the water he was drinking from it.
Panic, research, and one GreenKid £20 stainless steel sippy bottle later, I can now take the time to really think about plastic. Excited?
A little scientific bit about BPA
Bisphenol A is widely used in the production of plastic. In fact it was so widely used that when the U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention conducted a survey, they found it in 93% of urine samples taken from those tested. Almost every sample was tainted. So what could be the effect of BPA on the body.
The bad news is, BPA has an oestrogenic effect on cells at their most basic level. What does this mean? In animals, low doses of BPA during pregnancy and lactation can reduce survival, birth weight, and growth of children early in life, it can delay the onset of puberty in adolescence, reduce testosterone levels and impact reproductive systems adversely, and it has also been linked to cancer, obesity and diabetes in later life.
Parents and manufacturers rightly became more BPA savvy and it was swiftly removed from many products. Childrens products like bottles, cups, pacifiers, cutlery, bowls, plates all became potentially lethal with the findings…because of the size of their little bodies, babies and toddlers actually have the highest ratio of absorption of toxins from plastics so removing BPA became a fashion and a necessity.
The discovery more recently that BPA-free products are releasing chemicals with even more oestrogenic activity than BPA-containing products is therefore quite alarming. Everything you thought was safe to use just became a little more dangerous.
Did you know…
BPA is also found in the linings of most tin cans and aluminium cans, sometimes you can see it, but often it is transparent. It stops food or liquid coming into contact with and being tainted by the metal container.
What can you do to cut down your exposure to oestrogenic activity?
Simply put, all plastics leach chemicals, even more so when subjected to everyday processes like microwaving, dishwashing and storing. It would be a long and testing process to eliminate plastic from our lives totally, but a few changes could dramatically cut the amount of chemicals we are ingesting. The alternatives are also more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
- Only use bottles for their intended purpose. Do not reuse water bottles, leave water in them for long periods of time or leave in hot places.
- Never microwave anything in plastic, heat speeds up the process of leaching. Use microwave safe glass or ceramics.
- Allow food or drinks to cool before storing in plastic containers or cups if you must use them.
- Avoid wrapping foods in cling film, often made from PVC these can release pthalates into your food.
- Better yet, try stainless steel baby bottles, sippy cups, and sports bottles. Even glass bottles can be a suitable alternative.
- Eat fresh, keep tinned, canned and plastic packaged products to a minimum wherever possible.
- Try letting baby gnaw on wooden or fabric toys and get rid of pacifiers and plastic teether toys (easier said than done, try my baby biscotti recipe for sore gums)
I have a little way to go to be as plastic free as I would like to be, but I am getting there. Good luck on your journey!