We’ve all heard news reports warning that certain plastic toys have been recalled, should be thrown out, or are generally unsafe to use. But should your playroom be all wooden toys? Should you stop using plastic bottles altogether? We’ll break it down for you so you know what to keep and what to toss in the recycling bin.
When it comes to chemicals in plastics affecting adults, the dangers are magnified for babies and children. You’ve most likely heard of the two biggest offenders: bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. BPA is used to harden plastics, while phthalates do just the opposite—increase flexibility and durability. Both are endocrine disruptors, which means they could potentially act as hormones in the body. Because both chemicals can leach out of the plastics and into liquids and foods, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of BPA in baby bottles, cups and infant formula packaging.
Aside from seeking out products that are labeled BPA-free and phthalate-free, here are some steps you can take:
- Store pumped breast milk in glass jars instead of plastic containers.
- Switch to glass or unlined stainless steel baby bottles—there are many brands of both available on the market.
- Avoid plastic bottle liners.
- Avoid heating or cooking any baby food or drinks in plastic containers, even if they say “microwaveable.”
- Stay away from plastic products with the #7 recycle code.
- Toss any baby bottles, sippy cups and any other hard, clear plastic food storage containers that were made before 2012 (when the FDA’s rulings were passed).
- Avoid using vinyl products around babies as much as possible, since these products tend to contain phthalates (keep an eye out for flexible plastic toys, like plastic bath toys and teething rings).
What other steps do you take?