Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.
Polycarbonate plastics are commonly used in food and drink packaging, e.g. baby milk bottles, and food containers. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products e.g. food cans.
BPA can leach into food from epoxy resins in canned foods and from polycarbonate baby milk bottles, food containers and tableware. The amount of BPA that leaches into foods or liquids depends on the temperature of the foods or liquids, rather than the age of the containers.
It is worth noting that polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins are structurally sound when used at temperatures as high as 130 degrees Celsius (266 degrees Fahrenheit). This is well above the 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) at which water is boiled and is used for sterilization. However, it is now also generally understood that Polycarbonate plastic and BPA epoxy resin lined containers releases BPA when heated to temperatures near 100 degree Celsius, or when exposed to certain bleaches and alkali cleansers. In addition, low levels of BPA have been found in water contained in polycarbonate containers stored at room temperatures.
As the human exposure to BPA is widespread, BPA can also be found in breastmilk !!! Some studies suggests that infants and children are the most vulnerable group to BPA’s advert effects. Therefore, parents may want to make choices to reduce their infants’ and children’s exposures to BPA.
Alternatives to Polycarbonate:
There are currently two types of substitutes for polycarbonate plastics, namely Polypropylene or Polypropene (PP) and Polyethersulfone (PES). PP has a melting point of 121 degrees Celcius.
PP milk bottles will loose their transparency over time, lessening their active useful life. When put into boiling water or sterilize cycles, PP bottles have a limited shelf-life.
PES plastic will retain their tensile strength and form with continuous use at temperatures as high as 180 degree Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit). PES is ideal for the construction of baby bottles because it can be safely and easily sterilized.
However, it’s worth mentioning that PES is one of those plastics that ended up in the #7 recycling category because it didn’t fit well into the other categories. This recycling category is also where Polycarbonate falls into. Therefore, do be mindful when you see #7 recycling category.
Choosing Baby Milk Bottles:
It may be good to look for baby milk bottles which are BPA free, PVC free, and also phthalate free.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A new study suggests that baby lotion, baby powder, and baby shampoo may be exposing babies to potentially harmful chemicals called phthalates. “At this time, we do not know what the potential long-term health effects might be, but there is a large body of animal studies to suggest developmental and reproductive toxicity (from phthalates) and a few human studies with changes in health outcomes as well,” Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana told Reuters Health. Phthalates are used to make plastics flexible and stabilize fragrances, and are found in a plethora of consumer products including toys, personal care products and medical equipment.
Some BPA free baby milk bottle brands to consider includes: (1) Safety Plus – PES material (2) Green to Grow – PES (3) Think Baby (4) Born Free (5) Smart Baby