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Harmful effects of BPA, PVC and Phthalates
A number of harmful chemicals are used in the production of plastics used in baby products. These include BPA, PVC & Phthalates. These chemicals have been proven to be absorbed into our bodies and have been blamed for the rise in the number of people suffering from cancer, asthma and infertility.
Bisphenol-A - known as BPA - is found in hard, clear plastics such as baby bottles, plastic water bottles, soothers, teethers and food containers. It is also found in metal-based food and drink cans - including baby formula cans. It has been found that with heat BPA leaks into food and drink.
BPA is a known hormone disruptor and mimics the female sex hormone oestrogen in the body. It is thought that it can interfere with healthy growth and reproduction, which is why there is so much focus on reducing the exposure to BPA for babies and young children.
Over 300 research papers have now been published linking BPA to a number of health problems such as breast and prostrate cancer, reproductive abnormalities, early onset puberty, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hormone disruption and neural and behavioral effects in infants and children.
Another group of hormone-mimicking toxic chemicals used in plastics are phthalates, which are added to Polyvinyl Chloride products - also known as PVC - to make them more pliable and durable.They are found in many products including vinyl flooring, cosmetics, personal care products, air fresheners and food packaging.
Phthalate chemicals can leach out of vinyl and children are particularly vulnerable when they put toys made with PVC into their mouths or eat foods stored in packaging made with these chemicals.
Research has linked phthalates with endocrine system problems - especially in boys - and is suspected to cause reproductive and neurological damage. It has also been linked to early puberty in girls and both testicular and breast cancer.
PVC baby toys containing some specific phthalates have been banned in Europe but are still used in soft plastic toys such as squeezy toys and bath toys. PVC is also used as a wipe clean coating on bibs.
US and Canada's approach
In October 2008, Canada banned the sale of many products for babies and young children such as baby bottles that contain BPA. Chicago, Minnesota and Suffolk County NY have all enacted similar bans. The States of California and Washington have also passed laws to ban certain phthalates from baby toys and products.
UK and EU approach
The European Union has banned the use of some phthalates in toys and childcare products that might be placed in the mouths of children under 3 years old. Denmark has become the first European country to ban the use of BPA in any food containers for children up to three. France is set to make a similar move to ban BPA. Global awareness to the impact of these toxic chemicals is increasing. However in the UK companies can continue to sell bottles containing BPA - which has prompted a number of groups such as the NCT, WWF, FOE and Breast Cancer UK to ask for all bottles containing BPA to be clearly labelled and eventually eliminate BPA from baby bottles and food containers.
Other countries' approach
Japan has switched to BPA-free linings in their food and beverage cans. Some of these alternative bio-resins are made from soy, corn, and vernonia weed.
On the right you will find a number of articles which provide further Information about these chemicals as well as news on recent research into the impact of them.
We ask that you make an informed choice when buying products for your children to protect them at their most vulnerable age.You will find our Toxic Free logo confirming which products are free of the chemicals BPA, PVC and Phthalates which we hope will make it easier for you to buy safer products for your children.