Saturday, 10 May 2008

BPA stands for "Big Pain in my Ass!"

If you've been living under a rock I apologize for talking about something that has been all over the news in the past weeks. Canadian stores have been pulling baby bottles containing Bisphenol-A (or BPA) off of their shelves. This is a good thing since BPA has been linked to hormone disruptions.

Of course, this is news we all could have used YESTERDAY!!!! (I say this in the fashion of Adam Sandler). It has recently come to our attention that the Avent bottles that used for Logan have a dangerous amount of the stuff in them. More, in fact, than most baby bottles. Well, it's too late to do anything about that and I'm sure it won't make much of a difference in the long run. Imagine all the crazy things that our parents used for us that wouldn't be acceptable today. Oh yeah, mom and dad, I remember scooting around in one of those death traps on wheels called a walker.

It is easy to tell if something you have contains BPA. Look at that lovely recycling symbol on the bottom of the cup or whatever. You know, the one with the triangular arrows on it. If the number in the centre of that triangle is a "7" then it is baaaaaadddddd. Throw it away or risk the giant BPA monster. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Logan's sippy cups are a respectable "5", so he's safe from harm until the next scare enters our field of vision. However, not all is safe in the Team T-Lo abode. We have been threatened to our very core by the BPA monster. OUR SLURPEE CUPS ARE 7'S!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

What a thing to discover. Don't worry, the regular cups in the 7-Eleven are 5's, so if you're not cheap and buy a new one, you're safe. But Terry and I always use the refill cups that we purchased last summer. Those lovely Simpson's Squishee ones that took us months to collect.

I innocently turned one of those cups over the other day. Lo and behold, there was a 7 staring me in the face. Bah! BPA is now a big pain in my ass. How dare it threaten our life nectar?

We've since made Logan stop playing with these cups, but we are still using them for refills. Our cheap bone has outweighed our health bone in this case. Once 7-Eleven has a new promotion that we can get behind, we'll buy new ones. We promise.

For anyone interested in what all those recycling symbols mean, below is a summary:
  • #1 PETE or PET (polyethylene terephthalate): used for most clear beverage bottles.
  • #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene): used for "cloudy" milk and water jugs, opaque food bottles.
  • #3 PVC or V (polyvinyl chloride): used in some cling wraps (especially commercial brands), some "soft" bottles.
  • #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene): used in food storage bags and some "soft" bottles.
  • #5 PP (polypropylene): used in rigid containers, including some baby bottles, and some cups and bowls.
  • #6 PS (polystyrene): used in foam "clam-shell"-type containers, meat and bakery trays, and in its rigid form, clear take-out containers, some plastic cutlery and cups. Polystyrene may leach styrene into food it comes into contact with. A recent study in Environmental Health Perspectives concluded that some styrene compounds leaching from food containers are estrogenic (meaning they can disrupt normal hormonal functioning). Styrene is also considered a possible human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.
  • #7 Other (usually polycarbonate): used in 5-gallon water bottles, some baby bottles, some metal can linings. Polycarbonate can release its primary building block, bisphenol A, another suspected hormone disruptor, into liquids and foods. In 1998, the Japanese government ordered manufacturers there to recall and destroy polycarbonate tableware meant for use by children because it contained excessive amounts of bisphenol A. Other sources of potential bisphenol A exposure include food can linings and dental sealants.


CHADMAC said...

I too have been struck by this whole BPA thing. My beloved Nalgene water bottle that I have been using constantly for the last seven years has a 7 on the bottom.

How dare they screw with Slurpee cups too! That's just wrong!

Julie said...

Now I'm hesitant to check my EarthTech-logoed water bottle.

Jennifer McNichols said...

Just a note: #7 does not always indicate polycarbonate (and thus BPA). #7 is the "other" category for plastics, and includes layered plastics, bioplastics, and a variety of newer plastics, including but not limited to polycarbonate. The only way to know if the cup is BPA-free is to call the manufacturer. Our Z Report on BPA has a lot of companies' products detailed, but not Slurpee cups, which I'd suspect are actually NOT PC, because polycarbonate is relatively expensive and also usually used to make a very hard plastic.

Tawny said...

All that may be true Jennifer, but us busy parents don't have time to call the manufacturer of every single bit of plastic we have around the house. Therefore, I say if in doubt, don't buy anything with a "7" and chuck any questionable ones you have. You aren't doing the environment any favours buying them anyway since they are difficult to recycle.

On another note, my aunt has told me that Avent is helping parents find some BPA-free Avent choices by giving away a sippy cup. If you are a parent and would like to get in on this, you can call: 1-866-624-1906
You can get an Avent magic cup or an Avent Sport cup for your little one.

Anonymous said...

Here's an alternative for my nalgene bottle I had: I have one on order.

Also, I have a camelbak better bottle which was cheap but kind of ugly. I'm thinking of getting a carabiner for it.

Here's more info on finding bpa-free alternatives: