Bisphenol A is a harmful chemical found in polycarbonate plastic which is used to make many popular baby bottles and sippy cups, among other things. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that mimics the action of the human hormone estrogen, which alters our body’s natural pattern. BPA can leach from polycarbonate plastic, usually a hard, clear plastic that is common of many products we use everyday. Effects at even low BPA exposure include prostate cancer, breast cancer, early puberty onset, alterations in gender-specific behavior, decreased sperm count, affects on fertility, behavioral effects including hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness, impaired learning and other changes in behavior, and other problems.
Where is BPA found? Astonishingly, BPA is found everywhere making human exposure widespread.
Baby bottles and sippy cups.
AVOID bottles such as Dr. Brown’s, Avent, clear Evenflo, FirstYears, Platex VentAire, Sassy and TupperCare as they are all contain bisphenol A. On the sippy cup side, avoid Nuby cups with handles coming up from the bottom of the cup, Gerber Soft Starter, and Gerber Suzy’s Zoo & Sippy Snacker.
BPA-free bottles and sippies flagged as safe include: glass bottles, Born-Free, Medela breastmilk storage bottles (made with polypropylene) and disposable bottle systems that have polyethylene plastic inserts.
And for sippies: Avent Magic Cup, Born-Free, FirstYears Take & Toss, Gerber Color Change, Munchkin Cupsicle, Sigg Baby Water Bottle, Playtex Sipster, and the new Boon Fluid Sippy cup. I also called Luv N Care, makers of the Nuby sippies. Their cups are made with #5 plastic except for the cup with the handles coming up from the bottom. The straw sipper’s sliding closure is also a polycarbonate piece, but since it is not touching liquid, it is considered safe. However, my daughter chews on this, so we will not be using this cup. There are many stainless steel varieties as well such as Kleen Kanteen and Thermos Foogo sippy cup, though these are much more expensive. Avoiding aluminum cups for your child would be recommended as aluminum has been linked to other health issues, including Alzheimer’s.
If you must use a bottle/sippy made with BPA (which is probably rare), you should NEVER store milk in a container made with BPA, as the chemical could leach into the milk. You should also discard any bottles that are scratched, appear cloudy or generally have an altered appearance from their “new” look. Exposing to heat, harsh detergents (no dishwashers) and microwaving can cause leaching. Not sure how many infants want milk that is not warmed. (Of course this means warming the bottle in water, NOT in the microwave.) To me, it’s not worth the risk to use these products. Unfortunate since my daughter used Dr. Brown’s at daycare when I could not nurse her. But fortunately she was mostly nursed, so at least her exposure was limited.
It’s in the lining of canned foods, where it appears to be the most common way to be exposed. BPA can leach into the food inside the can. It’s especially important to note that infants fed canned formula are at the greatest risk. Even fruit in plastic jars may be made with polycarbonate plastic, including the Dole variety. According to Dole, this is the only plastic that can withstand the heat, disturbing since heating polycarbonate plastic is how the BPA can leach into food.
Plastic food containers. Not all containers are made with BPA, but all can leach harmful chemicals when not properly used. NEVER heat food in plastic containers of any kind (this does include Styrofoam containers). Always heat food in a microwave safe container, glass is best. I know you are thinking this is a pain, but so would chemotherapy. Given the choice, I wash the extra dish.
There are 7 types of plastic. Look under most plastic products and in the recycle symbol, there should be a number that indicates the type of plastic it is made from. Numbers 5, 4, 1 and 2 are safe for food. 3, 6 and 7 are not, with 7 being BPA.
Here is a great handout I found that explains the 7 types of plastic and goes into more detail about the 3 harmful ones you want to avoid. Attention bottled water drinkers, there is bad news here for you. Plastic water bottles are typically made from the harmful plastics.
Another good resource is the bisphenol A portal. Has great info and links to a California environmental site. Noteably, California has banned the use of bishenol A in the making of products for children.
It is also important to note that the studies that found these harmful effects were government funded. The industry-funded studies did not find any threat to humans (of course), so if you embark on your own search on bisphenol A, please make sure to note if the study was industry-funded. They have a way of hiding things to protect their bottom line. Searching for and manufacturing safer alternatives can be costly.
- “Cheat sheet” of BPA-free sippy cups and bottles
- US Government says BPA is harmful
- Pregnant women told to avoid BPA
- Today Show report on BPA & plastic safety
- BPA may lead to health problems such as obesity and ADD/ADHD
- Whole Foods private label canned food contain BPA
- Canned foods and BPA
- BPA is found in infant formula
- Gerber baby food containers
- BPA and other plastic safety
- Z Recommends: The Z Report on BPA In Infant Care Products, Third Edition
- Environmental Working Group: Guide to Baby Safe Bottles & Formula
- Environmental Working Groups Report on BPA in Baby Formula
- Breastmilk contains stem cells
- Breastmilk cures
- Can breastmilk cure cancer?
93 thoughts on “Harmful Plastics: Polycarbonate with Bisphenol A”
You said above that numbers 5,4,1 and 2 are safe but it then says that 3,4 and 7 are not. Does 4 actually go in the safe or unsafe category? Thanks for clarifying.
Sorry, that was an error on my part. 4 is considered safe. 3, 6 and 7 are to be avoided. Of course, there are a few exceptions because sometimes new bio-plastics (like those made from corn or sugar cane) are labeled #7 and are safe. But as a general rule, avoid 3, 6 and 7. Definitely follow the link to the handout I mentioned in about the 4th paragraph from the bottom. It is a great handout that discusses all the plastic types. Also remember that no plastic is completely safe. More research has been done on 3, 6 and 7, so the other’s are not necessarily safe. More research needs to be done. Hope that helps.
I have some Gerber sippy cups for my daughter…which ones are safe and which ones aren’t? There are different web sites saying different things and it’s very confusing..
So would you say that going with the “safe” Gerber sippy cups is ok? The Born free are so expensive…….
Hi Jamie, I called Gerber because I have a couple of Gerber cups myself. I was pretty sure they were polycarbonate, so I put them up. The Gerber transition cup, 2 handle cup (handles come up from bottom) and the Nuk cup are all made with polycarbonate plastic and it is safest to avoid them. Gerber’s other cups — the Sip & Smile, Fun Grips and the insulated cups are made with polypropelene which is considered a safe plastic. Basically, if any cup/bottle is a hard, clear plastic, it’s very likely polycarbonate. Many are labeled #7, but many more are not labeled at all.
Also, sorry for the delay in responding, I was out of town. I hope this helps!
Hi – I was wondering about fruit cups, which I often five to my girls…I just looked on the bottom and they are #7! This is both Dole and Del Monte. Also applesauce containers. Are these ok b/c they are not heated? I am confused also by which canned foods are safe or not…can I safely buy any canned fruits or veggies?
Please respond, this information has been harder to find than info about bottles and sippy cups! I am so bummed b/c my younger daughter drank exclusively out of Dr. Brown’s due to colic! I thought I was doing something good for her!
I called Dole several months ago asking about their #7 containers and they DO contain bisphenol A. I had several of these and I returned the ones I had not opened and stopped feeding what I had to my daughter. Luckily, I did not give her too many by that time. I always avoid anything with #7 and anything that is a hard, clear plastic. I would rather be on the safe side. Many people do not worry about it, but I do because there are so many other things to worry about like chemicals in shampoos, pesticides on food, antibiotics in meat… If it is something I can control, I do it. It’s easy now to find healthier alternatives.
As far as Dole’s canned foods, they said all their cans are made of tin and are not lined with plastic. Del Monte cans however are lined with enamel containing BPA. I had to ask him several times and finally got it out of him and then he immediately got all defensive about it. I asked if there were any plans to change this and he said “No, the USDA, FDA, etc. all approve the lining.” I said they recall items all the time and so I trust the independent research and would be looking for another product line for my canned foods. I have sometimes use their corn and green beans for cooking.
If ever you are concerned, just call the 800# on the package and ask for a direct answer. If the person does not know, kindly ask them if they could find out. If they say the product does contain bisphenol-A, ask if there are plans to change it and make it safe. If not, make the request for them to do so and tell them you are not going to purchase any more of their products until there is a change. Many will also say “Our research shows polycarbonate is safe.” Obviously there is enough independent research that proves this is not true.
Good for you for doing your homework. There are much safer alternative products — Motts, Whole Foods and Earth’s Best all make applesauce containers with #2 or #5 plastic. I am sure there are others. I have not seen any fruit bowls though that are not #7. I have gone to almost all fresh organic fruit, but on the regular occassion I don’t I use regular canned fruit (tin containers!). Fresh is usually better though it certainly is not as convenient as canned!
Oh, and don’t beat yourself up about the Dr. Brown’s, we can only do our best with the information we have at the time. I mostly nursed my daughter, but she did have breastmilk in the Dr. Brown’s at daycare. She was taking sippy cups by the time I learned about this, so I had to go through those, but luckily we were using Nuby’s!
Thanks, Tricia – not really what I wanted to hear, but at least I know what to buy (and I will switch to Mott’s applesauce!).
I appreciate your quick response!
I have now heard that some baby food can be found in BPA plastics. Do you know which brands are safe to use? I have a 4 month old and will be starting solids shortly. Otherwise I will be making my own….
Sorry for the delay in responding. The safest and healthiest food you can feed your baby is organic foods that you have grown in your own yard and then cook and puree for your baby. If you have time for that, I think it’s wonderful, but that is not all practical for every mom.
Gerber’s plastic containers contain polysterene or styrofoam (#6) a plastic you definitely need to avoid and also #2 plastic which is safe, but the combination with the #6 makes it unsafe. Both their traditional and organic line have this container. It’s especially bad when heated. I would absolutely avoid Gerber baby foods. They do have jarred food, but I had read in Baby Bargains in their reviews of baby food that Gerber adds sugar to their baby food eventhough it is not on the label. What a shame they almost own the baby food market.
I have also heard that the lids of some jarred food contain BPA in the lining. This is not as bad (in my opinion) since less food comes in contact with the lid. You can at least not shake the jar or scrap out the lid to help limit any exposure. I am not sure this is true in all cases. I would suggest calling the manufacturer of whatever baby food you are looking at and see if they use a lining containing BPA on the lids. Ideally, you should feed your baby as much organic baby food (homemade or store bought) as possible to help limit exposure to harmful chemicals during such a critical developmental stage.
I personally really like Earth’s Best. I have also seen Organic Baby at another organic grocery store. These are both in glass jars, but since my daughter is no longer eating baby food, I have not had baby food in the house, so do not know if the lids contais lining with BPA.
Oh, and this is a little unsolicited tip, but there is no rush to start solids. The AAP and WHO recommend waiting until 6 months to start solids. Before a year, solids are for fun, socialization and for experimenting with different textures. At least 75% of baby’s food should be your milk until 1 year of age. Solids do not help babies sleep, contrary to popular belief. Breastmilk has more calories per oz. And babies will accept solids when they are ready. My daughter did not care for it until 6 months of age and I have heard of other’s who were not interested until close to their first birthday. Look for clues from your baby, such as she is taking an interest in your food, lost the toungue thrust, has doubled her birth weight, can sit up without support… actually, here is a link about solids, how/when to start them and commo myths: http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/solids-when.html
Best of luck!!
I am so annoyed, I bought our daughter Gerber Organic baby food, because I just didn’t have time this week to make food, and they come in containers with a 7 on the bottom!!! What is the point of putting organic food in a poisonous container! My next e-mail is to them
Hi, I contacted gerber at the beginning of this week when my mother told me about all of this. I asked about the #7 plastic baby food containers (which I hate that they switched to anyway because they don’t recycle #7 in my area) anyway, here is their response (BTW-I don’t care what they say, I don’t trust them and we are going with glass)…
“Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our new plastic food containers. We appreciate having an opportunity to discuss this with you.
We can assure you that all Gerber products are safe and meet or exceed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for safety. The FDA has established regulations that define the limits for potential interaction between food and plastics. Our plastic food packaging is within these federal limits and poses no consumer concern.
Bisphenol-A is a key component used to make polycarbonate plastics. Gerber plastic food containers are not made from polycarbonate. Gerber uses high-quality multi-layered plastic to ensure the safety of the products. Gerber chose the multi-layer #7 plastic package because it ensures the quality of the product by helping ensure freshness of the food.”
Thanks for your comments. I contacted Gerber as well (I have a post specific to them) and their containers are made with #1 (which is safe) and #6 plastic which is NOT safe. #6 contains polysterene or styrofoam. I do not trust Gerber at all. It is a shame they are the leader in baby food. Before I got pregnant and started learning about this stuff, I thought they were the best, turns out they may be the worst. Sad. Thanks again for commenting!
Am I safe using Gerber bottles that are colored and flexible plastic? How about colored but hard plastic evenflo bottles? Also, my toddler uses the Playtex insulator sippy cups that are colored hard plastic, but have 5 on the bottom. Are they safe? Is it safe to assume teethers are safer if they are colored than clear? Or am I completely oversimplifying everything? Have you modified storage containers and drinking containers for the adults in your home as well?
Alex, if your Gerber bottles are flexible, it is likely made from polypropelene (#5 plastic) which is considered safe. You can call Gerber directly with the actual name of the type of bottle and they can tell you for sure. If the Playtex sippy has #5 on the bottom, you should be good there too.
As far as the teethers, phthalates are the thing to worry about there. This is another chemical that should be avoided. Make sure any teethers you buy are labled “phthalate free.” Sometimes it may be labeled as PVC-free.
I stopped using all containers in my home that are hard, clear plastic and also have avoided all styrofoam (#6). I am in the process of getting rid of all plastic containers for food storage (eventhough they are labeled as #5) and will be switching to glass containers. We normally use glasses at the dinner table, though we do have plastic tumblers that we use (they are #5 and considered safe).
I do have Dr. Brown’s bottles that I used for my daughter, luckily she was breastfed so only used them at daycare. I found out about BPA after she went off the bottle, so now I will have to replace them when we have another child. Oh well, better safe than sorry. To me, it just is not at all worth the risk.
Hope that helps!
Thank you so much for your reply. It is really nice of you to take the time to research this and share your information with others. God bless. Alex
Interesting blog – but I noticed that you did not cite any sources for your research without which this just reads as the post of a panicked parent.
Here’s a link that provides some balance. There’s no argument that one should minimize exposure – but that goes for everything, including things that are good for you, like sunshine and calcium in your diet.
I personally do not drink from polycarb water bottles all the time like some people do. A glass on the desk does just fine.
Be rational, realize that in the end your fear is being used against you to sell products to you – products that 5 years from now may be considered no more safe than what you are getting away from.
Thanks for your comments, but there are several links in the article that are resources for the research. I put links to cited sources in all my articles. Also, no there is no need to freak out, and I am completely rational about all this. We have started to make our own soup (healthier anyway than using canned soup, plus no BPA), the BPA-free sippies we get are very inexpensive. BPA-free products are readily available, and like the sources we both cite, there is cause for concern for small children especially. BPA does act as a hormone and hormones are given off naturally in small doses, so that is where the greatest concern is. I can easily choose products that are considered safe for my family and avoid BPA without making any sacrifices.
Thanks for visiting and check back soon!
I have several Playtex Sipsters, which you listed as safe. But, checking the cups, some bear the #3(the others #4), which you later list as bad. Any idea which it is, good or bad, for #3?
You mentioned the Dr. Browns bottles, I am wondering about the new Dr. Brown’s sippy cup, which was recommended in a magazine because of the valve… but there is no number on the bottom of the cup.
Also I heard if you buy bottles that are not clear but have some color in them, they do not have BPA. Is that true?
Hi Laura, if the Dr. Brown sippy is the same material as the bottle, then yes, it contains BPA. Magazines may not necessarily be making recommendations based on whether or not they are BPA-free. As far as I know, the Dr Brown sippy is the same material as the plastic bottle, and I personallly would avoid it. There are many, many BPA-free sippy cup choices that are likely just as good as this special vavle.
Also, any hard plastic is usually BPA, even if it is tinted. I had a Gerber sippy cup that was a red, clear plastic and it was definitely BPA (called Gerber directly). Basically, if there is not really any flexibility in the bottle or cup when you sqeeze it, it is very likely BPA. Your best bet is to call the manufacturers directly and ask if it contains BPA and make sure you get a “yes” or a “no.” No other answer is acceptable.
Hope that helps
My 15 month old daughter uses the Nuby 10oz. sippy cup with the letter E on the bottom of it. Can someone please help me find out if this is a safe product & BPA free? Thanks for any help you can give me.
I just heard of this on the Today show this morning, I have heard about plastics not being very safe. That we should not microwave them or freeze them but the bisphenol A was a first for me. I have visited a few sites today to educate myself on this matter a little more. I have a 6 month old son who has not started on food yet. However I have stocked up on the gerber organics over the last few months. When I check them this morning they were a seven so I called Gerber to question them about this. The lady that I spoke with informed me that the plastic containers do not contain bisphenol A. I never told her that I heard it on the Today show somehow she already knew. She said that she didn’t know what they were saying this. She said that because the containers have two layers of plastic that it is required for them to label it a number 7. She said that thier business is babies and that they would never do anything to harm them intentionally. She said that she would mail me this in writting. Should I believe her regurding the plastic?
Angie, I did an article on Gerber’s babby food containers. https://amomsblog.wordpress.com/2007/12/20/bpa-in-gerber-baby-food-containers/
They are a mix of #1 and #6. #1 is safe, #6 is not. I do not trust Gerber at all. I do not use their products (except the puffs, my daughter loves them and they are in a safe container).
I love Earth’s Best Organic baby food, though I have heard that some of the glass jarred baby foods have lids that are lined with BPA. So that stinks, but at least it is limited to the lid where there is little contact with the food.
The safest baby food (other than breastmilk) is purees you make yourself with fresh, organic produce from a local farmer or your own garden, but that is not entirely realistic for the working mom!
Hope that helps!
Another thing to look at is the Nalgene polycarbonate bottles (look at the bottom for the #7 and PC) and cups.
We’ve been using them for years to carry water, juice and tea. Sigh. With respect to canned fruits (like pineapple) or acidic vegetables (like tomatoes or tomato sauces), most of the cans are lined also — the question is unlined leaches lead, and lined have BPA. So is this a long summer of canning in glass jars? Probably.
Hi, Trisha—I just returned some Gerber puffs because of the number on the bottom. I can’t remember if if was a 6 or 7? I just read that you use the Gerber puffs. Is the puff container safe? Thanks for your help.
Also–I returned eight Gerber meals because of the #7 on the bottom. Are the meals safe if I don’t heat in them? If I remove the meal and transfer it to a microwave safe dish to heat, would it be safe?
Thanks for your info,
Kim, the Gerber Puffs containers are made of high density polyethylene, #2, which is considered a safe plastic.
As for the meals, I would have to double check, but I think I recall the meal tray being #6 or a mix of #6 and something else. I remember the #7 on the bottom of the tub-like containers (I think for their ravioli) and the inside was a safe plastic but the outter shell was not.
Personally, I do not use them anyway because it’s still a plastic and it’s really not considered completely safe to heat food in any plastic — just #3, 6 and 7 are the worst period. I think you would reduce the harm if you transferred the food to a glass or other non-leeching container. I personally completely avoid these pre-packages Gerber meals, and all pre-packaged meals at that. And I specifically avoid Gerber for everything except the Puffs, and it’s not like I buy them very often anyway.
Hope that helps!
Kim, and anyone else interested in the Gerber Puffs. I received further clarification from Gerber on this. The bottles are made only with HDPE (#2), though they used to be a combination of PE and another plastic. For this reason, they were required to use the #7. They did not specifically say, but I believe the other plastic was polystyrene #6 (which is also used to make styrofoam) and UNSAFE, as several other of their containers are made this way (PE and polystyrene). According to Gerber, the molds are being remade to reflect the #2 recycle symbol, but are using the current mold in the meantime. I am sure also they had a big supply of the containers already made and as a cost savings are using those containers up.
Gerber’s plastic baby food containers are also labeled #7, they are PE and polystyrene, which as I mentioned is #6 and UNASFE. I certainly would not recommend this until Gerber makes a change. While jarred food is a better option, some metal lids are lined with BPA (as are most canned foods). I had also read in Baby Bargains Gerber, at least at the time, was adding sugar to their baby food even though it was not on the label. Hopefully Gerber has corrected this, though reading that made me completely lose faith in the company. Sad really since they are a giant in the baby world.
Hello and thank you for your helpful blog. I have been looking into the gerber plastic baby food ever since I turned over the container and noticed the #7. I just came across your blog after being over at http://www.safemama.com That website is saying that the gerber containers are safe since they are made from plastic # 1 and #2.
I am getting so confused! Could it be that gerber is giving conflicting answers to people?
It could be that Gerber is giving conflicting answers. I called twice on the Gerber plastic containers, once a few months ago and once last week. Both times I was told one of the plastics used was #6, polystyrene, so I would avoid Gerber. You can call Gerber yourself and ask. I think their CS number is 800-4GERBER. I’d be interested in hearing if they tell you something different.
Also note that the CS reps don’t actually know any of this information, they look it up on a computer and read the information.
Hope that helps
Hello again! I did some calling around today because I was curious to see if these companies are giving out consistent info. Gerber told me the same thing they had told you….their baby food containers and gerber graduate pasta pick ups are a combo of plastic #1 (safe) and #6 (unsafe). She also told me that the outer layer is #6 and the inner layer is #1… I wonder if that is just for the gerber graduate pasta pick ups and not the baby food containers. Do you know? Anyway…my daughter loves those but I will not be buying those anymore! I then called Delmonte. They were defensive from the get go! The guy told me that their fruit cups did not contain BPA and were a #7 because they were made out of both polypropylene (#5)and ethylene vinyl alcohol. Not sure about the recycle code for other one. Having a hard time figuring that out online. Do you know? He finally admitted that their cans do have trace amounts of BPA! He danced around it and only said it after my questioning. I talked to Dole and they said that all their cans had a tin coating and no plastic coating and no bpa so that was a relief. They said their fruit cups contain no bpa and were made from polypropylene #5 and polyethylene. Do you know what # the polyethylene is? Of course he could not tell me on the phone and by looking online there looks like there is several different ones. I am starting not to trust any of these companies which is so sad. I feel like this topic has consumed my life for the last few weeks. You can tell the companies have been getting a lot of questioning which I think is great! Thanks again for your help!
Thanks for contacting those companies!
Gerber’s baby food containers are a blend, so they don’t have an inner or outter shell — it’s all in 1.
I got the run around from Del Monte too. And got the same answer from Dole, it is a relief that their cans do not contain BPA, however, I have to wonder if anything leaches from the tin?
There are 2 types of polyethylene — high density (#2) and low density (#4) — both are safe, so I would feel OK about using Dole’s fruit cups. I would feel safest with fruit and applesauce cups with a #1, 2, 4 or 5. Because then I know. I personallly am really just leary of #7 altogether.
Thanks again for letting me know how your calls turned out. Looks like we got similar responses, which is good!
Click to access bin.asp
Thought you might find this link helpful. From the American Chemistry Council. It describes all # plastics and their common applications/uses, indepth.
I’ll be making my own call to Gerber and see if the gals at safemama did a follow-up too.
Regardless, freezing in the (Gerber) containers is not a good idea!
As far as the sugar goes, the FDA declarations may allow them to “get away” with it however, the majority of baby food manufacturers have indeed taken sugar (as a major ingredient) out of their Stage 1 & 2 foods.. Sugar could, theoretically, be a trace ingredient
From the FDA/CFSAN/Office of Nutrition, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements (last reviewed/posted 04/2008)
.Is it necessary to declare trace ingredients?
Answer: It depends on whether the trace ingredient is present in a significant amount and has a function in the finished food. If a substance is an incidental additive and has no function or technical effect in the finished product, then it need not be declared on the label. An incidental additive is usually present because it is an ingredient of another ingredient. Sulfites are considered to be incidental only if present at less than 10 ppm
http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/2lg-6.html is a great link to explain all about product labeling of ingredients.
And those Puffs….have you read the amount of sugar those contain? And wheat and soy and…….It’s shameful how Gerber et al market this stuff so that most parents blindly trust it as being “best” for their kiddos!
Thanks for the comment at my blog!
hello again! I just wanted to add that i noticed my Earth’s Best Kidz Organic Applesauce has a #7 on the bottom of it. I called and asked them what plastics it was made from and the lady told me she did not know. She said the only thing she could tell was that it was a #7. She said they had gotten a lot of questions concerning their packaging and were looking at alternatives. Thought you guys would like to know this!
Maggie, thanks for the comment and the links — i will check those out. I have a problem with the FDA not requiring the labeling off all ingredients, even if they are trace, they can be on the label as “this product may contain these trace ingredients: XXX”
It is of particular concern in body care products where one of the by-products created is a known human carginogen.
I agree the puffs have a lot of sugar, but they don’t have nearly as much as a lot of other “sweets.” I’d rather give her these than chocolate or cheese puffs if she needs to have a “treat.” Actually, the puffs are the worst thing we have in the house and she eats them less than once a week, so that’s not so bad. Normally she eats hommus, fruit or yogurt. If we run out of hommus, we have problems at our house — its her favorite! Is it the healthiest –no, I agree with you there!
And we really should not microwave any plastic, not just those considered harmful.
Thanks for commenting! 🙂
For those interested in a wonderful new product to the USA check out: http://www.babysafeus.com – they just released a new Bisphenol-A FREE bottle with a new anti-colic valve located on the bottom of the bottles. No extra pieces to clean and most importanly – Bisphenal-A Free. The name of the bottle is: Flow by Hisense. They are the same ones that invented the Babysense V Infant Movement Monitor that has been used worldwide since the early 90’s. We have been using this bottle for several months now and it is awesome!
I’ve been trying to reach the Heinz company regarding about the Baby Basics Toddler Straw Cup with no avail. Because this straw cup is plastic, would you or any one by any chance know if it contains BPA. I searched high and low in the internet and nothing came up. Thanks!
Just wanted to share this email I received from Gerber. It took them forever to respond to my original email. It looks like they stand behind their decision to continue to use plastics containing BPA…..
Thank you for contacting Gerber Parents Resource Center™.
Safety is our top priority at Gerber Products Company, and we have a 79-year history of helping parents raise happy, healthy babies.
We are aware of recent media reports focusing on polycarbonate and Bisphenol-A (BPA). We would like to help consumers understand why leading manufacturers, including Gerber, have concluded that polycarbonate is safe.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has considered relevant data available regarding the use of polycarbonate and has concluded that products made with polycarbonate are safe for use as intended.
Additionally, other leading scientific and regulatory authorities in Europe have concluded that the use of food contact polycarbonate for baby bottles is safe. In a recent letter to FIT Pregnancy magazine, the FDA stated that it sees no reason to ban or otherwise restrict the currently authorized food contact applications of polycarbonate.
Bisphenol-A is a key component used to make polycarbonate plastic.
The following Gerber Cups are made of polycarbonate:
Premium Feeding System Transition Cup
Fun Grips® Soft Starter® Spill-proof Cup
Little Suzy’s Zoo™ 2-handle Spill-proof Cup
The following Gerber Cups are NOT made of polycarbonate:
Cool Twisties™ Straw Cup
Fun Grips® Color Change Spill-proof Cup
Sip & Smile™ Spill-proof Cups – all styles
Tossables™ Sippy Cup
If you have additional questions or concerns, please call 1-800-4-GERBER and refer to File No. 030125744A. Our representatives are available any time day or night to assist you.
Best wishes from your friends @ gerber.com.
Kim, thank you for sharing the email from Gerber. And interesting you should post this today.
I wonder if Gerber would be interested to know that today, a health panel for the US Gov says BPA is harmful.
Also, the studies the FDA reference for BPA safety was provided by the plastics industry — that’s like the tobacco industry claiming the safety of smoking. Seriously….
Canada is working to ban the substance and is putting pressure on the EU and US to do the same. I understand the EU has set limits for BPA but has not banned it.
Thanks again for sharing the email
Are th e big blue water jugs we’ve used for years to haul our RO water safe or bad? I don’t know what URL means
I was wondering if the platex avance bottles are safe to use. I used them with my first baby and am using them now on my second!
I am not familiar with that bottle and cannot find much information on it. I did not see it on the playtex website either, but it appears all playtex bottles are made of BPA plastic except for the opaque, soft bottle and the drop-ins (though based on the below statement it appears the bottle itself is made of polycarbonate, the milk just does not come in contact with the bottle).
Playtex did offer this statement on their website:
“..for parents who want to explore other alternatives to polycarbonate, we offer product choices that are BPA-free:
The Playtex Nurser System with its holder and disposable liners was originally developed in 1948 and has been trusted by generations of moms. The system uses disposable liners made of polyethylene- in both Drop Ins liners and rolled liners. So, the only contact between baby and the food is through the nipple and the liners, which are both BPA- free.”
Here is a list of BPA-free bottles and sippies, it may not be comprehensive, but it certainly is a great list.
The gerber puffs have a #7 clearly on the bottom so you, trisha, clearly contradict yourself by purchasing them and giving them to your child. Also they clearly have low sugar 1g per serving, 6g for the entire container, another contradiction or perhaps you cannot read. You sound like you work for the other companys and are hating on gerber for your own gain, trying to encourage unsuspecting people to follow your beliefs. If everyone reduces as much of the purchasing of plastics as possible and doesnt heat/freeze food/drinks in them theyll be better off so will the environment. Enough said. I hope people reading your blog do theyre own research and use their own intelligence instead of taking anyones opinions as facts.
Maggie (and anyone else interested in Gerber), by the way, I looked the other day at the Puffs again, and they only have 1 gram of sugar per serving — which if I recall is about the same as Cheerios touts — I think theirs is less than 1 gram). So it’s less than I recalled, so wanted to clarify. Again, no its not as healthy as fruit, but really, it’s not a bad little snack in my opinion. But parents just need to determine for themselves if 1 gram of sugar is too much. For an occassional snack, for me it’s not, but again, that’s my opinion.
According to Gerber, the plastic used for the Puffs is #2 and they have not updated the molds which is how the number at the bottom is pressed into the container. So the plastic itself is safe. I have a post on Gerber that you may be interested in. Gerber’s baby food containers also have a #7 on the bottom but they are made by combining 2 plastic types — Gerber told me #2 and #6 on 2 occassions and #5 and #6 on another occassion. #6 is a plastic that you want to avoid. And no, I do not work for any of the “other” companies. People want safe alternatives so suggestions are provided. Other parents have also provided safer alternatives which is awesome and encouraged! I just can’t with a good conscience say Gerber is safe when the scientific research clearly says to avoid #6.
And for the Puffs, 1 gram of sugar is a lot to my husband, but not much to me when it’s not her main snack. That again is a decision every parent must make for themselves. Some parents avoid all sugar and those like my mother in law see sugar as a major food group.
It’s not just plastic usage in general, it’s 3 types of plastics that are believed to cause serious health problems. So yes, while reducing plastic usage is better for the environment, I still want to avoid those that will give my child cancer or cause her to hit puberty by the time she is 8.
These are facts Monica, not my opinion. And I agree that parents should be encouraged to do their own research, however, they will find the same information I did in most cases, but please search away. Sometimes the companies themselves give contradicting information, but all a parent can do is read information, make their own phone calls and then make their own decisions on what products to buy or not to buy.
I hope you have a chance to read up more on BPA and plastics. Thanks for giving me a chance to address your comments.
Hi, I noticed that Heinz fruit containers have a number 7 in the recycle symbol. After reading this article, it seems to me that it’s not safe to feed my baby their fruit.
Also, some president choice toddler fruit have the same number.
Some stores removed all their plastic bottles and some sippy cups but what about these fruit containers, they have the number 7 on it, they still have them on shelves, does it mean they are safe?
This is very confusing. I would appreciate someone to clarify this for me. Also, the Gerber plastic bottles have no number on it and they are still on the shelves, are they safe too or not?
As promised, I called Gerber myself – 3 times and got the following response:
#2 & #6
#2 & #5
#2 & #6
Sooooooooooooo……………………… who really knows?
On the Puffs front, I am “hating” on them due to the myriad of ingredients including the sugar! How many puffs gives 1 gram? If I recall, it was not many at all. But again, it’s not just the sugar. It’s like the cereal has soy and milk derivatives in it…
Maggie, thanks so much for getting back to me. So strange Gerber is stating different things. Something odd is going on. I am going to try and call and speak to someone higher up. It does appear they are very likely using #6 since that was the most popular response collectively, so would still avoid them, however, if it is #2 and #5 then they would be safe and I don’t want to give out bad info.
Thanks for the response.
Terry, sorry I don’t know anything specific about Heinz at the moment, I have not seen their fruit cups — either they are not sold in my area, or I just have not noticed them!
Your best bet is to call and get a straight answer on what the cup is made out of. I have emailed them on their website, so I can let you know what they say.
I don’t think I’ve seen this mentioned in your blog so far, but I apologize if I am being repetitive. I’m sure many moms are very familiar with the Stonyfield Farms Yo Baby yogurt. The number on the bottom is 6. My baby loves these. The moment she sees one she gets super excited. She’s only 10 months old. She doesn’t like to drink but she loves her solids, specially these yogurts. I give her a couple a day for her to get the calcium she needs since she does not have the amount of formula she should be drinking, nor does she care for milk. Do you know of any other good yogurts packaged in a safer container? Thank you
I just noticed this yesterday myself and was very upset as my daughter loves these yogurts as well. I will definitely be giving Stoneyfield Farms a call. So dissapointing. In the meantime, they do make whole milk yogurt in #5 containers. I have used these, though my daughter does not like them as well, and to eliminate the added sugar when she was younger, I would buy the plain whole milk yogurt and mix in stage 2 or 3 organic baby food fruit. So at least you can still give yogurt from a safe container.
Again, I am as dissapointed as you are. I have not bought them in months and my 2 yr old saw them and would not let me go without them, so it was the first time since learning all this that I looked at the bottom. Ugh!
Trisha, thanks for your reply. Im very well read up on BPA, have been for some time. Ive known about it and the dangerousness of heating plastic since last year when i saw Dr Oz on Oprah, and have his book ‘You staying young’. This isnt new info and some of us already took steps to reduce BPA in our lives, i.e. using glassware to heat in microwave and limiting consumption of all canned foods, i cant recall the last time i ate canned food. I did just recently learn my organic gerber plastic containers were dangerous, and the #7 on the puffs scared me when I had taken care to be aware of the BPA in my babys diet. So i may have been defensive when reading your posts, however you sound slightly fanatical against one company when i havent read much data from you on any other company. I am in agreement with you on the glass jars, ive switched to completely, are safer than the plastic. I never heated those though, always removed a portion and heated in safe container. Anyway I think we are both on the same side, we want to be healthy and protect our children. I didnt mean to attack you, Im mad at all the companies who are supposed to be making healthy products for children and are not. Monica
Thank Monica — glad you have been in the know for so long. I only learned about BPA about 6 months ago and was pretty ticked off like you are. As you said these companies are supposed to be providing healthy products for babies and are not. It’s very disturbing and angers me.
Please, if you have any tips to add, alternative BPA-free products to try, please share!! I certainly am not all-knowing about every BPA-free product out there, I am sure no one is, but we can all help each other by sharing!
I just went to the Heinz website and unfortunately there was no information regarding thier containers BPA content. I sent a question to heinz to find out if it was made from polycabonate, and I have not heard back yet.
Fortunately the Heinz fruit containers that I had with the reclycling number 7 on it (includes polycarbonates among other plastics) also noted that the company who makes the container was Spartech. I went to their web site and found that their single serving food industry containers are made from multi-layered polypropylene. (I can’t guaruntee that this is what was sold to Heinz, but I did want to pass along this information).
the dad, thanks for sharing that information. I also emailed Heinz with no response. I have found it difficult to find information on single serve containers labeled with #7. I called Mott’s about their applesauce and was told the containers were polycarbonate plastic; I emailed Mott’s and was told it was #5 with an oxygen layer. This was the same company providing information on the exact same product, so what can you believe? I guess they just won’t have me as a customer until they get their story straight and reveal the truth.
TRISHA, IM NOT AN EXPERT ON BPA EITHER SO ITS UP TO US TO HELP EACH OTHER I AGREE. I EMAILED GERBER, NO RESPONSE YET, THEY ONLY ALLOW 240 CHARACTERS, LOL, SO I DIDNT GET TO SAY MUCH. I MAY KEEP EMAILING THEM TIL I GET A REPLY. I AM USING ONLY THEIR GLASS JAR ORGANICS RIGHT NOW, THERE ARE ONLY 6 FLAVORS (AT LEAST IN MY WALMART) SO I HAD TO GO TO OUR HEALTH FOOD STORE TO HAVE EARTHSBEST SPECIAL ORDERED. I HAVE TO BUY A WHOLE CASE AND ITS EXPENSIVE:-( MY SON DOESNT EVEN HARDLY EAT SOLIDS AND SEEMS TO NOW LIKE FINGER FOODS MORE, SO IM STARTING TO HOMEMAKE STEAMED FOODS FOR HIM. I BAGGED UP ALL MY GERBER FOODS IN PLASTIC, 1BOTTLE, & 2SIPPIES TO RETURN TO WALMART. ITS MIND-BOGGLING HOW THE FDA ALLOWS THE 50ppb AS A ‘SAFE’ LEVEL (OF BPA), WHEN .02ppb SHOW DAMAGE TO RATS, AND THE HIGHER THE DOSES SHOW EXTREMELY HIGH DAMAGE AND CAUSING MAJOR DISEASES. I DONT UNDERSTAND. SO IM USING ONLY GLASS AND MAKING HOMEMADE ORGANIC FOODS ITS ALL I KNOW TO DO. ALSO I NOTICED MY DANNON ACTIVIA LIGHT YOGURT HAS #6 ON BOTTOM, SHOULD I BE CONCERNED? THEY DONT GET HEATED AND GET EATEN QUICKLY. THANKS, MONICA
Monica, I noticed the #6 on the bottom of my daughter’s Stoneyfield Farms organic yogurts. The experts say to avoid #’s 3, 6 and 7, so I guess that is the last of those yogurts I will be buying and I will be writing to Stoneyfield about this. Many yogurts come in #5, including the “regular” sized Stoneyfield yogurts, so in my opinion, there is no need to use a #6 container. It’s very frustrating when you actually start looking at the bottom of containers. I was at whole foods Monday and their parmesean cheese was in a #3 container!! What the crap?? I am getting a little frustrated with Whole Foods in regards to packaging — BPA line their canned which they are OK with but not OK with baby bottles containing BPA. They also sell polycarbonate reusable water bottles!! Hopefully they will address these issues. I emailed them weeks ago and have not gotten a response.
Good for you for making organic baby food for your baby. I hope that I will have time to do that with baby #2. I have not seen Gerber’s organics in glass jars — that is good to know. Also, you can sign up for coupons at Earth’s Best’s website and if you have a Publix nearby, I have seen several buy one, get one free deals on Earth’s Best baby food. I also liked Nature’s Goodness until Earth’s Best became readily available in my area. It’s not organic, but from what I read about them, they are very selective and it comes in glass jars. Beech-Nut was my fall back, also glass jars.
At about 10 months my daughter preferred table food, so we just cut and mashed up what we were eating. I still have several jars of baby food that she never ate. I’ll probably end up giving it away, unless it will still be good for at least a year when baby #2 will be about 6 months.
Hello. Please let me know what you find out from Stonyfield farms. My baby loves the yobaby yogurt and my toddler loves the yokids squeezers and I could not find a recycle number on those. I will probably try and call Stonyfield farms tomorrow. I am still waiting to hear back from Earths Best about their organic applesauce with the #7 on bottom. They said I would hear back in a week and it has been 2 or 3 so probably will call them again too.
I did find this on the greenandcleanmom.blogspot website. I couldn’t figure out how to paste it here but basically stonyfield says that “the FDA requires the styrene content of the packaging be less than 5,000 parts per million (ppm). The styrene content in the Stonyfield Farm’s polystyrene packaging does not exceed 400 ppm.” So I guess they feel like it is safe?
Thanks for the great article. There’s a lot of helpful information in there. I just wanted to let you and others know about a new product I came across. They are called Bevibags. They are completely BPA free. They are disposable drink bags, that you fill yourself. It enables you to fill the bag with whatever you want, instead of having to buy prefilled juice boxes. I can now mix water with whatever juice I want to give my kids and not have to worry about them getting all that sugar from store bought juice boxes. The best part is that they are disposable. No washing, no cleaning. Just use it and throw them away. I found them at http://www.bevibags.com
Did anyone ever find out about the packaging for the Stoneyfield Yogurt Squeezers? My kids love these.
OK, just called Stoneyfield and got the answer — she said that it’s #4 plastic (for the Squeezers).
It’s a shame that people will comment on something like BPA in polycarbonate plastics before even looking at the research and how it is performed.
First off, not all #7 plastics are polycarbonate…and not all contain BPA.
The studies that showed polycarbonate plastics leaching BPA never achieved a level of more than 1-2 parts per billion…which is not even detectable in the body. And is less than 400 times what the FDA sets as an aceptable level of BPA intake.
These studies also put these bottles through multiple months of excessive abuse. Using chemical abrasives and boiling tempuratures that would never be achieved even remotely by anyone using these products normally.
No one has been able to reproduce the results of these studies either.
Anybody have any idea about the FoodSaver bags?
Justin, sorry you feel that way. Numerous independent studies (links to articles are throughout this blog) show that BPA is indeed harmful and is most harmful at the smaller levels. Additionally, these studies show that using a dishwasher causes leaching in baby bottles.
The FDA is looking at research conducted by the plastics industry, the makers of polycarbonate. Anyone recall the tobacco industry claiming the safety of smoking? Right.
While I don’t agree, I do appreciate you taking the time to comment.
I too share your concerns about the plastics in baby food containers. I’ve been making my own food for a few weeks now and it’s going very well, and I’m storing in glass or safe plastics (a great sire I found is http://www.thesoftlanding.com for ordering plastics that are bpa, pthalate, and pvc free).
My question to everyone out there: any ideas on how to make puffs at home? I’d like an alternative to the Gerber puffs, which my daughter loves. If I could make them at home, I could control for the sugar and eliminate the plastic. Help! Any ideas?
There’s also a new bottle out there called “Flow, by Hisense”. I just bought some at one of my local baby stores. It has no extra parts and has a built in system to help prevent air in the bottle to aid in the prevention of colic. They make them in 7 oz for $7.99 and I it’s either 9 or 10 oz for $8.99. It’s worth a try, especially since there’s not a bunch of parts to wash like Dr Browns. I did also buy Born Free, which I’ve heard rave reviews about, so I’m going to try both. Oh yeah and the “Flow” bottle is BPA free!
The question was asked (#22) but was not answered. I have Nuby sippy cups, the ones you chew to get it the water from 2 years ago. There is no # on the bottom, only an E.
This is a 10 oz, Nuby copyright 2002. Does anyone know if this is safer plastic?
You would want to call Nuby to be sure, but I think those cups you described are the sippies made of PP #5 plastic and are safe. Are they kinda hour glass shaped and don’t have any handles? They still make these cups. The Nuby cups with handles are not.
Hope that helps
Thanks for all of the helpful information. I am a first time Mom. My daughter has been breastfed now for 3 months, taking a few bottles here and there. I was using a brand that contains BPA, so I am looking at BPA-free alternatives to use going forward. Since I am going back to work soon, I will need to have bottles at daycare, which I want to be BPA free as well as food storage containers and babyfood jars for future use. Your blog has certainly helped me to get up to speed. I wanted to let you know that yesterday at our local Target I saw that Dr. Brown’s and Gerber both offer BPA free plastic bottle options. I also read that by the end of 2008, all Playtex offerings will be BPA free. It sounds like certain manufacturers are moving in the right direction, which is nice for us Moms who have so many things to worry about.
Heather – could you let us know which stores sell the Hisense Flow bottle? I went on the website, but I was unable to find places that sell those bottles.
Regarding the Nuby bottles I found this link.
Hope this helps
I agree with Justin (comment #63) here. Not all #7 plastics are bad. Not all #6 plastics are bad. Just read the Bisphenol A – Wikipedia and decide for yourself. If you’re concerned and incessantly worry, use glass.
Like the author mentions, pay close attention to the funding source of the studies. I’m drinking out of a new, PBA-free #7 Nalgene. Am I worried? No. I’m 33 and I can assure you that when I was being fed baby food “back in the day” out of containers made out of who knows what. Did parents worry about plastics and PBA back then? No. Should we? Perhaps.
From what I have read (and it’s a lot) just wash the plastics by hand, avoid the microwave and heat up stuff in glass. We are essentially voting with our wallets here; companies are changing their product lines to PBA-free because the consumers want PBA-free, not necessarily because their products actually leach PBA at dangerous levels. Companies want to make money, so if enough people threaten to stop buying their products changes will be made.
I am very confused now! I just bought the new Nalgene bottles for myslef and my kids that say they are BPA free thinking I was doing the right thing. They say 7 on the bottom but reading through the information here it seems that 7 is not good. Trisha, if you are still around or anybody else, I would greatly appreciate some information on this. It says BPA free with no 7. Is that not a good plastic to be drinking from? Thanks!
Naira, unfortunately, #7 is a catch all for plastics, but typically is for polycarbonate plastics. But it is also for new bio-plastics and other plastics that are BPA-free, so it is certainly confusing. The new BPA-free Nalgene bottles are labeled #7, but as long as you have the ones labeled BPA-free, you should be fine.
Hope that eases your concern! Thanks
That helps a lot…thank you so much!
I had my first baby in 2000, four others followed pretty quickly and although I nursed all of them for 6 months or so I always supplemented and the used exclusively the bottle until a year. At which time I used sippy cups for milk. I keep those Advent bottles in warmers or heated them in the microwave all the time even the sippy cups of milk for the second year of life. I stored the bottles in the fridge with milk or formula constantly. Like most Mom I know I did not know I was harming my child in any way. Now the damage is done and #6 baby only has glass bottles and is nursed what can I do about the others?? Is there a test to check their levels like the one for lead. Is there a detox something like for lead that can be done. I am devastated that I trusted a baby product and put my child in harms way. Lastly, is anyone suing these companies, it seems to me there-should be some sort of class action law suit against them.
Since the FDA considers BPA safe, there is nothing legally that can be done. But since consumers are speaking with their wallets, retailers and manufacturers will soon no longer offer bottles made of BPA contaminated plastic.
As far as testing for lead, yes, a blood test at your pediatricians office can detect lead levels. I believe a urine test can also be done. If I understand correctly, you can “detox” your body of lead, but you definitely cannot reverse any damage that has been done.
And please don’t feel guilty about using bottles with BPA, microwaving, using for storage, etc. Many moms did so unknowingly, myself included. The good news is they may never suffer any consequences and you can further limit their exposure by avoiding plastics, canned food and canned soft drinks.
Congrats on the latest addition!
I just received a Mr. Coffee (5-cup) coffee maker as a gift. It smells of the black plastic inside where the hot water and coffee go. After several cleanings running through vinegar and water it still smells of plastic and so does the coffee. Is it safe to use? Has anyone ever looked at the safety of the plastic in these coffee pots?
Hi Fran, I would call the manufacturer and ask about the plastics used. I am not sure about coffee makers. If you can find a stainless steel coffee maker that would likely be your safest bet, though I am not sure if there i such a thing – I am not a coffee drinker. Sorry not of much more help.
I’m happy to see that Dole has changed their fruit cups to 5. I try to give my DD fresh, but we use the Dole cups when we travel (quite often).
hi.. i have plastic tumblers that i bought from target, they were about $3 each and there is no number on the bottom.. how would i know if they are bpa free or bpa toxic?
Hi there, I just wanted to inform people that I just discovered the pre-chopped frozen veggies I liked to use in a pinch from ‘Europe’s Best’ are packaged in bags labelled with a #7. This has me very upset, I should have checked this long ago. I have fired off an email to the company, if I get no response by the end of the week I will call. I won’t let this one rest. Companies have to stop packing products in plastics period. 😦 I will update you when I hear back from “Europe’s Best”…
Good health and happiness to all.
I have a BPA Free bottle #7, is it safe to drink out of and have outside in my truck etc.? Im confused due to being PBA Free but #7.
#7 is a catch all category, so if it says BPA free but listed as #7, not to worry, you should be fine. Call the manufacturer to find out exactly what was used to make the bottle
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