BPA: Governmental Action
The federal government is now funding new research into BPA risks. We don't know the results of these studies yet. Recommendations about BPA could change in the next few years.
For now, there are no restrictions on the use of BPA in products. The Food and Drug Administration does recommend taking "reasonable steps" to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply. The FDA has also expressed support for manufacturers who have stopped using BPA in products for babies and for companies working to develop alternatives to the BPA in canned foods.
A number of states have taken action. Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Vermont have laws restricting or banning the sale of certain products containing BPA, like bottles and sippy cups. So have cities like Chicago and Albany, as well as a few counties in New York. Similar laws are likely to pass in New York and California, and state legislatures are considering restrictions in many other states.
BPA Risks: What Can Parents Do?
Although the evidence is not certain, the FDA does recommend taking precautions against BPA exposure.
Trying to eliminate BPA from your child's life is probably impossible. But limiting your child's exposure -- and your own -- is possible. It doesn't even have to be hard. Here are some tips on how to do it.
- Find products that are BPA-free. It isn't as hard as it once was. Many brands of bottles, sippy cups, and other tableware prominently advertise that they are BPA-free.
- Look for infant formula that is BPA-free. Many brands no longer contain BPA in the can. If a brand does have BPA in the lining, some experts recommend powdered formula over liquid. Liquid is more likely to absorb BPA from the lining.
- Choose non-plastic containers for food. Containers made of glass, porcelain, or stainless steel do not contain BPA.
- Do not heat plastic that could contain BPA. Never use plastic in the microwave, since heat can cause BPA to leach out. For the same reason, never pour boiling water into a plastic bottle when making formula. Hand-wash plastic bottles, cups, and plates.
- Throw out any plastic products -- like bottles or sippy cups -- that are chipped or cracked. They can harbor germs. If they also have BPA, it's more likely to leach into food.
- Use fewer canned foods and more fresh or frozen. Many canned foods still contain BPA in their linings.
- Avoid plastics with a 3 or a 7 recycle code on the bottom. These plastics might contain BPA. Other types of numbered plastic are much less likely to have BPA in them.