Don't use baby bottles with bisphenol-A

I wrote last week that people should avoid drinking tap water out of plastic bottles, because safer alternatives are available.

Dawn Sagario wrote a piece for the Des Moines Register about growing concerns surrounding the presence of bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles:

Looking at studies done on animals, a federal report released earlier this month found “some concern” that exposure of fetuses, infants and children to low levels of BPA during development “can cause changes in behavior and the brain, prostate gland, mammary gland and the age at which females attain puberty.”

Sagario writes about how parents and some retailers are taking steps to reduce babies’ exposure to BPA, which is good to know.

I was disappointed to read this passage in the article, however:

But Sam Beattie, food safety specialist with Iowa State University Extension, said people shouldn’t be tossing those plastic bottles just yet.

“Should people be concerned? No,” said Beattie, who is also an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition at Iowa State. “There has been no direct correlation associated with consumption of BPA to any human malady.”

Beattie said the amounts of BPA given to animals in studies is more concentrated than the amounts to which humans are exposed.

Most people already have BPA in their systems. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found BPA in 93 percent of more than 2,500 urine samples from people ages 6 and older.

Beattie said he’s been drinking out of polycarbonate water bottles for 30 years, and he’ll continue to do so.

I’m guessing that Professor Beattie is not getting 100 percent of his caloric intake via plastic bottles, like millions of bottle-fed infants are.

Also, I doubt that Beattie is heating up all of his food and drink in those plastic bottles. Bottle-fed infants have all or most of their meals reheated in the plastic, which can increase the amount of hormone-disrupting chemicals that leach out.

As an adult, Beattie is no longer at risk for going through early puberty. But think about the babies who are drinking from plastic bottles every day.

It makes sense to be on the safe side and use glass baby bottles, or at least plastic bottles that do not contain BPA.

A final word of advice for parents who exclusively bottle-feed, or whose babies sometimes drink breast milk from bottles: this page has tips for bottle-feeding techniques that help promote a secure attachment with your baby. The gist is that you mimic certain aspects of breastfeeding (switching sides, making skin-to-skin contact and eye contact, always holding the baby while feeding) when giving the baby a bottle.

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