BPA Away

Plastic Alternatives
BPA Away

There is a lot of scary stuff in the news these days about plastic and it’s pretty hard to keep on top of it. We can barely spell bisphenol A or phthalate (and we haven’t used Nalgene since our backpacking days).

But amid all the confusion, here’s a few things we do know:

  1. Bisphenol A (or BPA) can act like an artificial estrogen. The fears are that it can disrupt hormones, cause earlier onset of puberty, reduce sperm counts and increase the risk of breast and prostrate cancer. Phthalates, used in many personal care products and to make plastics flexible, are now thought to affect reproductive development.
  2. While there is still some debate about the above, and we don’t have a PhD in plastics engineering (or even chemical), we do have options when it comes to plastics in our kitchen.
  3. You can check the resin symbols (usually on the bottom of the product or container) and choose plastics #1 PETE, #2 HDPE, #4 LDPE and #5 PP and avoid #3 PVC, #6 PS and #7 polycarbonate (that’s where all the BPA tends to be!) to practice safer plastic use.

So if you’re looking for alternatives to remove plastic from your life one small step at a time, there are some pretty savvy new products readily available online:

Tableware
We’re setting a fancier table now (than we did with that old Swedish plastic set) with our new Corelle Livingware break-resistant dishes ($39) in Classic Café pattern. Made from bonded glass (with 3 to 5 year break and chip warrranties), there’s a pattern to match every décor. Available online from Corelle and at major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Home Outfitters and Sears. We’re also less worried about things getting dropped with our new set of eco-friendly bowls from Bambu, made from sustainable, renewable bamboo in fun colours the kids will love ($5.95–14.95). Available from bambu.com.

Water Bottles
You know we love our Sigg bottles, the original ‘safe’ drinking bottle from Switzerland (they’re celebrating their 100th anniversary this year in fact) and the huge range of designs means we can find one for every member of the family from baby to dad. As light as plastic, stronger than glass, the aluminum works of art stand up to daily use, are totally recyclable when they come to the end of their useful life and the baked-on inner coating prevents any metallic taste.
Sippy Cups
Mark your calendars for the arrival of the latest must-have, the SafeSippy, coming back to Canada at the beginning of May (we got our scoop from the Canadian distributors—they’re pretty much sold out everywhere right now), the better sippy cup. Made from non-leaching stainless steel and plastic free from bisphenol A and phthalates and with a design that minimizes water to plastic contact and a straw-like spout that helps prevent speech development problems, these cups are as attractive as they are practical. Available soon at The Bay, Zellers, Babies ‘ r Us and many other locations. Pre-order now from kid-basix.com for April delivery.

Pacifiers
It sucks to be sucking on substances mom just isn’t sure about (like PVC and phthalates), so the Natursutten natural rubber pacifiers, made from 100% natural rubber, are a better choice ($7.99). We also like that they are molded in one piece, so there are no joints or cracks where dirt and bacteria can hide. Available from GollyGeezBaby.

We could get in trouble for saying that science is not always exact so we won’t, but a mother’s instinct is a powerful thing. If your gut is telling you that if the glass bottles were good enough for us as kids they might just be the right choice for Jack and Jill too, rest easier as there are definitely some fantastic plastic alternatives out there.

Tested by Sarah M., Toronto
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First published 2008.03.04

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