Throw Out Those Sippy Cups (Even the BPA-Free Ones!)

Julie Ryan Evans

sippy cupJust when I've banished every last bit of BPA-containing plastic from our home because of the chemicals it seeps into our food and drink, it seems all the replacements are bad too. That's right, a new study says all those BPA-free products I thought I was so healthy buying are still leaking chemicals that act like estrogen. In fact, they may even leak more chemicals than the regular plastic products that contain BPA, the ones I just threw out!

The good news is no one knows if these chemicals are harmful. The bad news as a mom to a toddler is that they could be, and from snack containers to bento boxes to sippy cups, my kids are consuming out of plastic regularly. With BPA-free products, I thought we were okay, but now we're right back where we started when I first became petrified of plastic.

In testing more than 450 plastic products, researchers found 70 percent of them released estrogen-like chemicals. That was before they exposed them to heat, like most plastic products are exposed to through things like the dishwasher or microwave. Once researchers did that, then 95 percent of the products emitted the chemicals.

So what of the remaining 5 percent? That, says researchers, is the good news -- that plastic can be produced that doesn't leak the chemical. They just don't know how yet.

So what's a mom to do in the meantime -- risk series of stitches and switch to glass? There's stainless steel, but once I throw out all the new plastic, they'll probably find something wrong with that too. Also, we may be worrying about nothing as things like wine and vegetables also release these chemicals, according to scientists.

"Regulatory agencies need to study the effect of chemicals leaching out of plastic," said Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group. Yes, it would be nice if they'd get on that so I don't have to wince in fear every time I pack my kids' lunches. In the meantime, they say to avoid exposing any plastic to extreme heat and throw out those pieces that are scratched and worn.

Do you use plastic products for food and drink? Will you change that based on this new study?

Image via Greene/Ellis/Flickr

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