The Lowdown on BPA

BIsphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical that is often found in baby bottles and even infant formula cans.
According to the National Toxicology Program (NTP), it acts on the brain like a hormone, causing behavioral and developmental problems, early puberty in girls and changes in the prostate and breasts of those exposed. The problem is, we’re all exposed to it—in a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 95% of subjects had BPA in their system.

But how does it get in? The chemical is found in polycarbonate plastics, which are used to create many things, from baby bottles to CD packaging, to mobile phones, to the resins used to line formula cans. Children are most susceptible to the side affects of the chemical, as they “eat, drink and breathe more than adults on a pound per pound basis,” according to the NTP’s report.

Following the April report, Canada became the first country to ban the use of BPA in baby products. That spurred the FDA to reevaluate the chemical’s use, which the agency had previously signed off on as safe for humans. But you don’t have to wait on the FDA’s verdict to protect your little ones: Reduce your family’s exposure to the chemical by avoiding plastic labeled with a “7” or “PC;” microwaving bottles, which can speed up the leaching process; checking with the company that manufactures your baby’s formula to be sure they don’t use it; buying glass and stainless steel in your kitchen; and looking for products that are labeled “BPA-free.” And click here to check out the products you’re currently using.

—Kenrya M. Rankin