Quick Info On Polycarbonate & Bisphenol A (BPA) and BPA-Free Bottles, Sippy Cups & More

There’s been a ton of press on bisphenol A (“BPA”).  If you are coming late to the issue, let me just sum it up by saying that BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic, including baby bottles and sippy cups, and is also found in the epoxy linings of canned foods and beverages.  It can leach into any foodstuffs, including formula and breast milk, from the container, especially when heated or exposed to harsh detergent.  Studies with laboratory animals have associated low level exposures to a variety of adverse health effects, particularly for fetuses and infants.  If you want more information, read here.  If you want more information on BPA exposure while pregnant, read here.

Although scientists still debate the safety, Canada has declared BPA a dangerous substance.  Most parents don’t want to wait until the scientists figure it out – they want to use BPA-free bottles and sippy cups now. 

Generally, polycarbonate plastic is identified by the #7.  But, be careful, not all #7 is polycarbonate plastic.  #7 actually means “other plastic” (not one of the plastics identified by #1 – #6), so polycarbonate gets stuck there.  But so do some other plastics.  For example, the Gerber First Foods are labeled #7, but the packaging is a combination of 2 plastics, and there is no polycarbonate plastic at all.  The inside is polyethylene and the outside is polystyrene.

In any event, here’s my current list of BPA-free bottles.There are more coming on the market as consumer demand grows.

Here’s my current list of BPA-free sippy cups.

For canned foods, skip them!  Try frozen, fresh or dried.  As far as I know, only Eden Organic’s canned beans use a BPA-free liner. 

For infant formula, the liquid formula in cans has the highest leaching.  Try the infant liquid formula in glass instead.  If you use powdered formula, then choose a container with the least amount of interior surface lined with an epoxy resin containing BPA.  Baby’s Only only lines the removable top, and the re-usable plastic cover is BPA free.  But I understand that this formula is not intended for infants less than 12 months of age.  Earth’s Best also only lines the top as it stated in its letter responding to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Enfamil and Similac line the top and bottom.  PBM (maker of most store brands) lines the entire container.  Nestle told the Environmental Working Group it was BPA-free, but provided no evidence and EWG is skeptical of its assertions.

For adult and teen sport water bottles, there are lots of options on the market.  I’m putting together a list currently.

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