When a party guest told new college graduate Benjamin Braddock (aka Dustin Hoffman) that “plastic” was the wave of the future in the classic 1967 movie “The Graduate,” he had no clue what that wave would bring to our shores. Plastics have made many products cheaper, longer lasting and lighter. It’s hard to find anything these days that hasn’t made the leap from glass, metal or ceramic to plastic in some form or fashion. That includes the bottles we use to feed our precious infants.
On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that members of the National Toxicology Program, part of the US National Institutes of Health, and several senior members of Congress told the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that recent studies show the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastic is cause for concern, particularly because the chemical is found in our convenient, plastic water bottles, as well as many baby bottles and the plastic lining of cans of infant formula. The National Toxicology Program went further than previous US government statements on possible health risks from BPA. Their research on rats found precancerous tumors, urinary tract problems and early puberty. According to the CDC, more than 90 percent of us are exposed to trace amounts of bisphenol, a chemical many environmentalists believe causes cancer and other health problems.
As recently as last November, the FDA said there is “no reason at this time to ban or otherwise restrict [the chemical’s] use.” The American Chemistry Council, representing manufacturers, claims that there are “no serious or high-level concerns for adverse affects” of this chemical on human reproduction and development.
All this means is that the jury is still out and animal research will continue. For now, you’ll have to make your own decision whether to continue using plastic baby bottles and water bottles. You may decide that glass, though it may be inconvenient and breakable, is your baby’s new best friend.