Posts Tagged ‘Infant/Toddler Health’

Seeking safer packaging to eliminate BPA

According to a new study, not many companies are seeking alternatives to replacing BPA in their packaged foods.

The survey was conducted by sending letters to 20 leading publicly-traded packaged food companies to inquire on the actions they are taking to address concerns over BPA. Fourteen companies responded and the scores were determined based on these responses.

The main findings of the study concluded:

(Excerpt)
• All companies surveyed use BPA and are taking insufficient steps to move toward alternatives.

• Hain Celestial, Heinz, and Nestlé received the top scores because all three companies are involved in researching and testing of alternatives to BPA and all have plans to phase out the chemical in some products.

• Heinz stands out as a leader as it is the only company surveyed that is currently using an alternative to BPA in some of its can linings.

• Three of the companies that responded to our questions, Del Monte, Hershey, and J.M. Smucker, are not taking action beyond monitoring the industry to identify or implement alternatives to BPA as a packaging material. 

Eden Foods is privately held so was not listed in the surevy, however, all their canned foods are BPA-free with the exception of tomatoes which are too acidic for any BPA alternative.

Green Century Capital Management and As You Sow conducted the study and they provide acceptable alternatives to BPA in food packaging. Read the entire article.

 What can you do?

Arm yourself with information.

Avoid companies who are not doing anything on the BPA issue, and write letters to them letting them know you will not buy from them until they offer BPA free products

Support companies who are moving to alternatives to BPA by purchasing their BPA-free products

If you need canned foods, opt for Eden Foods, which are BPA free (except tomatoes)

Ditch canned foods and opt for fresh or frozen

View my lists of BPA-free cups, dishes, bottles and more

Never microwave plastic as it could still leach BPA

Write your congressmen and encourage them to support the call to ban BPA altogether.

Related Articles
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The Real Story Behind BPA
BPA Free bottles, sippy cups and food storage

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Safer Sunscreens 2009

It’s that time of year again — planning for beach trips, the pool, biking, or whatever outdoor activities interest you.

california-baby-spf-30-natural-sunscreen

Last year, the folks at the Environmental Working Group published a report on the effectiveness of sunscreens. They studied 952 common sunscreens and found 4 out of 5 do not do their job.  Additionally, 53% of sunscreen make claims on the bottle that are simply inaccurate and are terms the FDA has said are unacceptable terms or misleading. 

They also found zinc and titanium based formulas to be the most effective.

What to avoid. Avoid ingredients like those with anything “–paraben” in the name, fragrance (likely contains phthalates), PEG compounds, polyethylene, oxybenzone,  triethanolamine, BHT,  benzyl alcohol, and others. This is not a complete list, just some of the ones you may find. Definitely consult the EWG’s Cosmetic Databse for more information on specific ingredients.

Again, read those labels and remember formulas frequently change!

Here is a little summary on the EWG website, plus their recommended top 10 sunscreens that are safe and effective. They also offer a list of “common brand names” and specifically which product in that line is safe and effective. **A little disclaimer though about the cosmetic database.** I have personally found discrepencies in the ingredients they have listed in their database than what is actually listed on the bottle. This is because formulas change frequently and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with each and every product. So definitely still consult the databse as a guide, but as always read the labels before you buy!!

EWG’s recommended Top 10 sunscreens (and their hazard rating. Rating is based on level of hazard, 0 being safest, 10 being highest hazard)
1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30   0
2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+  0
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+   0
4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30       0
5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum    1
6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40     1
7. Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35      1
8. UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+      1
(there is also a Baby version)
9. Sun Science Sport Formula, SPF 30     1
10. Soleo Organics Sunscreen all natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+  1

From 10 Common Brands (and their hazard rating. Rating is based on level of hazard, 0 being safest, 10 being highest hazard). If more than 1 product is listed for that entire brand’s line, I put the range, so be sure to get the ones specified below)
** Please note, these are safer common brands (meaning easier to find), does not mean they are free of harmful ingredients. Other than California Baby, I would personally NOT recommend any of the below or use these for myself or my family.
1. Blue Lizard anything without oxybenzone    (1-7)
2. California Baby anything with SPF 30+     (0-2)
3. CVS with zinc oxide       (2-7) 
4. Jason Natural Cosmetics Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock  (1-7)
5. Kiss My Face “Paraben Free” series     (2-7)
6. Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock     (2-7)
7. Olay Defense Daily UV Moisturizer (with zinc)    (2-7)
8. SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense     (2-3)
9. Solar Sense Clear Zinc for Face      (1-2)
10. Walgreens Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose, & Ears   (1-7)

Personally, I am a HUGE fan of TruKids and California Baby. TruKids is a little less expensive. My husband and I both used it last year during our traditional week at the beach and I use California Baby on my then 2 year old. She enjoyed using the TruKids face stick on all 3 of our faces! None of us got burned, and our relatives who used Bull Frog did get burned.

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California Baby Sunscreen: Product Review
TruKid Sunny Days Suncreen: Product Review
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No more BPA in food and beverage containers!

That’s what leaders from the House and Senate are proposing. The bill was introduced Friday and would establish a federal ban on the use of BPA in all food and beverage containers.

canned-foods

From the Washington Post:
The move came a day after Sunoco, the gas and chemical company, sent word to investors that it is now refusing to sell bisphenol A, known as BPA, to companies for use in food and water containers for children younger than 3. The company told investors that it cannot be certain of the chemical compound’s safety. Last week, six baby-bottle manufacturers, including Playtex and Gerber, announced that they will stop using BPA in bottles.

I am glad one of the big oil companies is taking a stand like this. Very impressive since the sale of BPA is a lucrative market for them.

From Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Scientists and environmentalists praised the move as an acknowledgment of the chemical’s danger, but some worried that more needs to be done to study how humans are exposed to the chemical.BPA is found lurking in many places including baby bottles, plastic containers (even some labeled microwave safe), food and beverage containers, eyeglasses, CDs, dental sealants and many other places.

“It may represent just the tip of a much larger iceberg,” said Pat Hunt, the professor from Washington State University whose work led to the discovery of the effects of BPA on animals more than 10 years ago.

“Recent work suggests that contaminated food and beverages alone aren’t sufficient to account for the levels reported in human blood. Thus, it’s clear that we need to know a lot more about how we are exposed to this chemical.”

 

BPA has been linked to behavioral problems, obesity, certain cancers, diabetes, miscarriage, low sperm counts, hyperactivity, heart disease, has been found to interfere with chemotherapy in breast cancer patients, and many other problems.

Why the FDA still considers BPA “safe” is beyond me. I mean other than they are in bed with the plastic industry folks. Hey, money talks. But its certainly infuriating as a parent knowing that hundreds of studies, another Federal Health agency and now even a BPA manufacturer all find there is enough evidence that this stuff does cause harm even in small amounts.

There are ways to avoid BPA in food and beverages. We do not use canned foods/beverages in our house, and I do not miss it or find it any harder to make dinner. I get fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. For soup, we make our own from scratch –it’s healthier and it tastes much better. If I really need canned something, which is usually just beans for taco night, I use Eden Organics whose cans are not lined with BPA (except tomatoes, which are too acidic). Even chicken and beef stock can be bought in a boxed form allowing you to avoid cans. Cream of whatever soups are the only other thing I use and I know there are recipes out there to make your own. For beverages, go for glass bottles (though the tops may be lined with BPA), or plastic (which is a whole other concern. We just gave up soft drinks all together a few years ago – there is no nutritional benefit to drinking it, it’s full of bad stuff and its not cheap.

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

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Sources:
JSOnline
Washington Post

BPA investigation: To read the Journal Sentinel’s ongoing investigation “Chemical Fallout,” go to www jsonline.com/chemicalfallout. JSOnAir Meg Kissinger on BPA To see Meg Kissinger talk about the national attention the Journal Sentinel is getting for its research into bisphenol A, go to jsonline.com/jsonair.

Related Articles
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The Real Story Behind BPA

Bottle makers to stop selling BPA containing baby bottles

It was bound to happen sooner than later – the six main baby bottle manufacturers have decided to stop selling polycarbonate baby bottles containing BPA in the US. HOORAY!

The six manufacturers Avent, Dr. Browns, Evenflo, The First Years, Gerber and Playtex all already have BPA free bottles. It really is a no brainer move since large retailers including Target, Wal-Mart and Babies R Us vowed to stop selling baby bottles containing BPA at the end of 2008, and Canada banned the sale of polycarbonate baby bottles last year. So if there is no market or sales channel, then why bother? Either way, this is to be applauded. But sadly, these bottles will continue to be sold outside North America.

This is a great first step; however, there is still work to be done on this issue. BPA still lines the insides of canned foods, soft drink cans, lids of many jarred foods, dental sealants, etc. And of course the FDA still is trying to convince us BPA is safe even though 130 studies have linked BPA exposure to behavior problems, breast cancer, obesity, diabetes and several other disorders.

See how to avoid BPA.

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

Follow me on Twitter!

Related Articles
Harmful plastics with BPA
Lead and PVC-free lunch boxes
Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas 
The Real Story Behind BPA

BPA may linger in body longer than we thought

New research shows that BPA may linger in the body much longer than we previously thought. Researches thought BPA was purged by the body in 24 hours, but that was based on limited research.

BPA is everywhere: in PVC pipe, in polycarbonate drink containers, in the plastic that lines food and soft-drink cans, and even in dental sealants. It’s also in our bodies. Virtually everyone has detectable levels of BPA in his or her body.

Now there’s evidence that BPA might be in our water as well as in our food, and that it lingers in our fat tissues. If confirmed — and the current findings are very preliminary — it could mean BPA is a bigger problem than thought.

University of Rochester researcher Richard Stahlhut, MD, MPH, analyzed data on 1,469 U.S. adults from the CDC’s huge 2003-2004 NHANES study. That study gave fasting people one-time BPA tests, and also collected extensive dietary data.

“After 10 to 15 hours of fasting, there shouldn’t be anybody with any detectable levels of BPA,” Stahlhut tells WebMD. “But it just hangs there like the London fog. You do see a subtle downward trend, but what you don’t see is it falling off the map. And by 24 hours it’s still there.”

And FastCompany pulled this quote from the study.
Not wishing to weigh the argument unscientifically, the research paper even states that, “Whether BPA can cause human health effects is a matter of some debate; the potential for harm to infants and the fetus is currently considered more likely than harm to adults.” But the piece concludes: “In our data, BPA levels appear to drop about eight times more slowly than expected – so slowly, in fact, that race and sex together have as big an influence on BPA levels as fasting time.”

The study was not perfect, the subjects in the study could drink tap water, black coffee and diet soda (hopefully not from cans lined with BPA). However, there was more BPA detected in the body that still gives us reason to be concerned.

These findings suggests that BPA may linger in the body longer, or that BPA may come from other sources like tap water (where BPA leaches from PVC pipes). Another theory is that BPA may be stored in body fat.

This is interesting because BPA may play a larger role in disease that we thought.

A 2008 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people with higher urinary BPA levels have more medical disorders. Another intriguing study from 2008 showed that BPA — at normal levels of exposure — disrupts a hormone involved in insulin sensitivity and diabetes. And a 2007 study showed that obese people are much more likely to suffer insulin resistance if they have high fat levels of organic pollutants.

“Imagine if what we think is caused by obesity is actually caused by persistent organics in the fat of obese people,” Stahlhut says. “If they don’t have the organics, they don’t have the diabetes. That would be huge.”

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

Follow me on Twitter!

Sources
WebMD
FastCompany

Related Articles
Harmful plastics with BPA
Lead and PVC-free lunch boxes
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The Real Story Behind BPA

BPA mimics estrogen and phthalates block testosterone

This article sums up pretty much what we already know, but it does a good job of showing how BPA acts like estrogen and phthalates block testosterone. I did learn that BPA exposure to babies in the womb have a greater negative effect on girls than boys, causing more reproductive harm than I thought.

Mice that were exposed to BPA as fetuses developed abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus, and vagina, Dr. Taylor said. Other murine studies found genetic abnormalities in eggs, an increased risk of mammary cancers, and early puberty in females.

The list of problems was shorter for male mice exposed to the chemical, with reduced sperm production and increased prostate size at the top.

And for phthalates…

Studies in male animals have found reduced sperm production, undescended testes, hypospadias, decreased testosterone production, and reduced anogenital distance.

The chemical’s effects on female reproduction were far fewer, with murine studies linking it to delayed or premature puberty.

They touch on the FDA’s stance that BPA is safe, where the FDA states they did not have sufficient evidence. However, human studies would be difficult. For one, a human study on either substance would be difficult since the entire population is exposed to both chemicals. Also, subjecting humans to high levels of this stuff would be unethical.

“Sometimes you just have to make decisions based on ‘inadequate’ evidence,” Dr. Lustig said regarding the FDA’s investigation of BPA, and potentially phthalates. “You just [make them] based on the right thing to do.”

Amen to that.

Read the entire article here.

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See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

Related Articles
Harmful plastics with BPA
Lead and PVC-free lunch boxes
Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas 
The Real Story Behind BPA

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