Next year, baby bottles in the EU will be required to be BPA free. BPA is the chemical that buzzed around the eco-blogosphere last year as it was discovered to be a harmful off-gas of common plastic products. Although an organic compound, Bisphenol A’s (abbreviated as BPA) negative affect on fetuses, young children and babies is rivaled only by it’s ubiquity.
In 2008, many manufacturers and retailers began pulling products that contained BPA from shelves. Here comes the sad news. The EU law passed just a week after the same law failed to pass in the United States Senate. Why? There’s a short, two word answer: industry influence.
At least we can say one thing about the U.S. Government: their expedience at which businesses can influence policy is head-spinning. Just ask any politician, all one needs to make lasting public policy change is a few dollars and a few friends.
For now, you can minimize the off-gassing of your current plastic products by not heating them. Belinda Phipps of the National Childbirth Trust says “When you put liquids into a bottle – particularly hot liquids or liquids containing fatty liquids – it leaches out of the plastic. And particularly as the bottle gets older and it gets more scratched, more and more leaches out and into the liquid.”
Starting in March 2011, BPA will be completely banned in the EU, allowing parents to make easy choices when it comes to their baby’s health. In the U.S., parents will just have to continue their diligence in terms of baby product research. Here’s hoping the gender-bending effects of BPA were minimized by my parents’ hippie lifestyle.