The Dangers of BPA: BPA and Babies

Earlier this week we discussed the dangers of BPA as it pertains to pregnancy.  Today we’re taking a deeper dive into how BPA can affect babies, and how to avoid excessive exposure for your little one.

As a reminder, Bisphenol A is a chemical used to harden and protect plastics and cans.  Studies show that BPA can cause cognitive, behavioral, respiratory and reproductive problems in babies and children when exposed in utero or after birth.  Specifically, preliminary research shows that BPA has been linked to reduced brain function, birth defects, asthma, ADHD, heart conditions and cancer.  BPA mimics hormones, especially estrogen, and may alter sex hormones and reproductive organs in children and young adults leading to male and female reproductive disorders.

BPA baby__1451439964_108.89.137.58If you look around your house, you might start stressing over all the plastics you have and how it can harm your baby.  Fortunately, after research was released about the dangers of BPA for babies and the elevated levels of BPA found in babies, most leading manufactures started making baby bottles, sippy cups, baby food containers, pacifiers and other baby feeding products BPA-free.  Although the Food & Drug Administration does not regulate the use of BPA, it encourages manufacturers to go BPA-free.  Many have followed suit as evidenced by the baby products industry. Most toys, even plastic toys, are not made with BPA.

Parents should be vigilant about purchasing baby products that are BPA-free and also following washing and usage instructions.  Many baby products are not dishwasher and microwave safe.  Using them incorrectly, especially heating them to extreme temperatures may cause seepage of chemicals from plastics – whether that is BPA or other chemicals.  Also, discard any bottles, cups, pacifiers and other plastics that are ripped, torn or cracked.  Not only can bacteria breed in these small spaces, but chemicals are released when the interior layers of such items are exposed.

Breastfeeding is a great way to reduce BPA exposure to your baby.  You can avoid potentially BPA-laden formula containers and bottles by breastfeeding.  For this reason, along with the many amazing benefits of breast milk for your baby, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for at least six months and continued breastfeeding until at least one year is encouraged.

bpa_free__1451439562_108.89.137.58While breastfeeding, take similar precautions about BPA as those during pregnancy.  Everything that you consume is passed to your baby in some way through breast milk.  If you plan to pump breast milk for your baby, ensure your breast milk is equip with BPA-free tubing and breast shields.  In addition to bottles, breast milk storage containers should be BPA-free to avoid contamination.

Hidden sources of BPA include the handle of pacifiers, receipts, CDs, DVDs, plastic kitchen utensils, plastic wrap, medical devices and dental sealants.  While your baby may not come into contact with all of these sources, it is good to be aware of them for your own protection and that of your family.

BPA is practically everywhere and avoiding it completely is not reasonable.  But knowing where it is lurking can help you make every effort to protect your baby from the dangers of BPA.