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Your Life, Your Health: What plastics are safe for children?

Updated: Sunday, May 11 2014, 10:43 PM EDT
It's a question many parents are asking following the release of a new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. It says products like sippy cups, bottles, and Tupperware that are labeled as BPA-free may contain alternatives to the plastic additive that are dangerous to a child's health.

"I never in a million years thought I'd have to protect my kids from plastic." Says Shannon Bonesteel of Clifton Park. A mother of two young boys, Bonesteel used to only buy BPA-free products. The FDA recently banned bisphenol-A, a chemical mimicking estrogen, in baby bottles and children's drinking cups. Now, she has rid her kitchen of pretty much all plastics.

"It really upsets me because at the time I thought I was doing the right thing and making good choices for my family." Bonesteel says. "But to think that the choices I could be making could hurt my kids in the long run? It's really frustrating."

According to the new study, more than 2 dozen plastic sippy cups were tested. The results showed 9 out of 35 tested were found with significant amounts of estrogenic activity, including seven cups found with more estrogenic activity than a cup made with BPA. All 9 estrogenic cups were labeled BPA-free.

Dr. Diane Tenenbaum, a pediatrician with St. Peters Health Partners says it's difficult in deciphering what plastics are safe and what aren't.

"We know that there are some more dangerous than others. But new research is coming out all the time, so we're learning more and more." She says. "There's a lot of different theories about what it (BPA) could be doing, from obesity issues to maybe having puberty come on a bit early. The truth is we really don't know."

Dr. Tenenbaum says if you're looking for an alternative to plastic, glass drinking cups and eating bowls/plates are a safe alternative. Also, stainless steel or aluminum. However, aluminum does sometimes contain a BPA resin coating on the inside.

If you still have concerns about certain plastics your children are exposed to, contact your pediatrician.

Your Life, Your Health: What plastics are safe for children?


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