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Understanding Bisphenol A (BPA): Plastic Chemical Now Linked to Obesity

As most informed parents are aware, BPA or Bisphenol A is a chemical to stay far away from. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines BPA as a chemical used “in the manufacture of many hard plastic food containers” and can be found in some metal cans due to the epoxy resins as well.

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration conducted a study on BPA and discovered that the chemical can leach out of plastic when heated (this is why you should always microwave food items in glass or microwave-safe ceramic containers!). Further tests have even linked BPA to a potential cause of cancer, diabetes, and infertility, though unfortunately, the effects are still too vague to truly deem the chemical as harmful enough to be eliminated from use in manufacturing.

Recently, BPA has been banned from baby bottles, but one frightening statistic makes me think it isn’t enough. According to Healthy Child Healthy World, “A survey conducted through the Centers of Disease Control found BPA in the urine of 93% of Americans. And our children have the highest levels.” Therefore, health conscious moms and dads should choose to opt for BPA free products in its entirety since the effects are still mostly unknown.

More recent studies have even linked BPA to an increased risk of obesity. Obviously poor diet and lack of exercise are the main contributing factors, but the association in itself is concerning. Particularly when it comes to our children, a study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that children exposed to high levels of BPA “are five times more likely to be obese than children with low levels.”

Again, the effects of BPA at this point are still not totally understood. But, to be safe, I would highly recommend looking for products (for you and baby) that claim to be BPA-free – that most definitely includes any sort of plastic toys that your little one might enjoy!

For more information on how to approach your infant’s exposure to BPA, visit HHS.gov.

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