Many new moms are playing it safe by opting for pacifiers and baby bottles free of bisphenol-A (BPA) so that their infant doesn't ingest any of what many scientists say is a very nasty chemical.
BPA, an ingredient used in plastic and other products, has been declared toxic and even banned in Canada and other countries. It's been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, liver abnormalities, and other disorders. Here in the United States, the FDA says there's no cause for concern; still, many U.S. manufacturers are ceasing to use the ingredient on their own.
For those concerned about BPA, the focus seems to be on the potential health risks to a baby after it's born. But can a pregnant woman put her baby—or herself—at risk by drinking from plastic bottles or other containers?
The FDA's current position is that BPA contamination of food is safe, even for pregnant women, infants, and young children.
Some doctors also say BPA is okay based on the FDA's stance. For example, Ashley Roman, M.D., says, "There has been some concern that exposure to BPA in extremely high doses may cause birth defect and miscarriage. But these adverse effects are noted with exposures that are more than 400 times greater than one experiences in daily life. The latest assessment by the FDA is that the low levels of exposure from food-related contact are not a safety concern."
But just last month, public health officials in Massachusetts issued a warning to pregnant women to avoid BPA in drink containers. Women who are pregnant should also eat, or cook with, fresh or frozen products instead of canned foods that may contain BPA, to reduce fetal or infant exposure to the chemical, advised Suzanne Condon, director of Massachusetts's Bureau of Environmental Health.
Studies done on animals have shown that low levels of BPA exposure in fetuses might cause developmental problems. A study done on humans showed that newborns don't break down the chemical as well as adults, and researchers predicted that newborns could have 11 times more BPA in their blood than adults.
And the State of Connecticut has gone so far as to sign legislation banning BPA. The state will be BPA-free by 2011. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's Attorney General, says there's mounting evidence that BPA, even in minute doses, endangers pregnant women.
Does BPA scare you? Or do you trust the FDA? Do you drink out of plastic bottles or SIgg bottles? Will you continue to do so?