Wake up retailers! Dump polycarbonate plastic and bisphenol A?

What is BPA?  It is the basic monomer, or building block, of polycarbonate plastic.  Polycarbonate plastic is widely used in a variety of applications, including baby bottles, sippy cups, sport drink bottles, those 5 gallon water jugs in your office, and other food storage type applications.  You can usually identify it by the #7 in the plastic recycling triangle – but not always.  #7 actually means "other plastic" so not all #7 marked plastic is polycarbonate.  BPA is also used in epoxy resins to line food and beverage cans, including infant formula. 

So what's the problem?  BPA can leach out of the plastic and epoxy resin and into whatever foodstuff is contained therein.  And, in laboratory animals, it mimics estrogen.  It has been shown to cause hormonal dysfunction and tumours, and scientists believe long-term exposure in humans could lead in some cases to infertility, early puberty, and even breast and prostate cancers.

Although the announced won't necessarily result in regulation, in response to consumers' concerns, Canadian retailers are pulling polycarbonate plastic off their shelves.  Yesterday, it was reported that Wal-Mart Canada joined the growing list of retailers getting rid of BPA products when it announced it will immediately stop selling select baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, food containers and water bottles made with the agent.  Home Depot Canada also said it would pull products made with BPA from its stores.

Why haven't American retailers acted?  It is the same chemical.  If it is a problem to Canadians it is a problem for Americans.  Hello retailers?  Why should American babies be exposed to BPA?  Wal Mart – wake up – if you pull BPA baby products in Canada you should pull them here!

If you don't want to wait until US regulators act, some Smart Mama Simple Steps to reduce exposure are:

  • Eliminate polycarbonate plastic baby bottles & sippy cups.  Try these alternates for bottles and for sippy cups.
  • Eliminate polycarbonate plastic sports bottles.
  • Never heat in polycarbonate plastic food containers – heat accelerates leaching.
  • Skip canned foods.  Choose fresh, frozen or dried.  If you need canned, choose glass or plastic (not #3, #6 or #7 though) over canned.  If you want to know more about BPA in canned foods, read here.
  • Skip prepared infant formula in cans.  Choose glass instead.
  • Choose powdered infant formula over prepared.
  • Choose powdered infant formula in paper containers over all metal to reduce amount of epoxy resin lining touching formula.
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