Are Sippy Cups safe for children?

I remember when my baby nephew was born and I asked my sister that if I could hold him. I still remember her appalling reaction, as if I have asked a kidney from her. That look of raised undone unibrow. Scary…!! Then came the list of instructions like “sit down”, ”put one hand under his head”, ”careful with the fontanalle”, ”move it closer to your chest”, “don’t give any jerk to the baby” etc etc. (You know how annoying sisters can get be). But I also sensed something else, a love for the baby. Her eyes were saying things which I can’t decipher in words. And for the first time I acquiesced and didn’t scratch her face (c’mon I was 10 at that time). My sister became a mother that day.

I don’t think that anyone can love us more than our mother, a perfect amalgamation of care, guardian, love, sacrifice and satan.  So, the next day I was buying a sippy cup for that little attention seeking weirdo aka my nephew , I was psyched to see that almost all the commonly available milk bottles or sippy cups are plastic made.

Being a chemical engineer, I can tell you that some chemicals are added to provide durability, strength, clarity to the material . Now under the application of

  • Heat
  • UV rays
  • Acidic medium
  • Prolonged exposure.
  • Brushing or vigorous washing

,these plastic leaches these chemicals into the food or liquid they are in contact with. One such chemical is BPA or Bisphenol, which is known to be an endocrine disruptor or in short messes up our whole hormonal system leading to

  • deformities of the male and female genitals;
  • premature puberty in females;
  • Decrease in sperm quality; and increase in breast and prostate cancers,
  • infertility, miscarriages,
  • obesity,
  • type 2 diabetes,
  • allergies and neurological problems, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD.

BPA ban and World:

BPA was banned by the Food and Drug administration (FDA), USA ,from use in baby bottles and cups in 2012. So industries came up with a novel plastic i.e. BPA free plastic formulation. Some recent studies suggest that even the BPA-Free plastics may pose a health risk to babies.

bpa-bottles_wide-6a781928ef08dc2c16faf55950513809e2d3377a-s900-c85Considering the mental and physical impacts on infants, most countries have either phased out BPA or very stringently regulate its use. Canada was the first to ban the use of BPA in baby feeding bottles. The European Union has followed suit, while countries such as the US, France, Japan, China, Malaysia and Turkey have either imposed a ban or opted for a voluntary phase-out

Note:

According to Times of India, Nov 5, 2014:

A study was conducted by Toxic Link in which 14 samples of feeding bottles were collected from Delhi, Baripada in Odisha and Bhopal in MP. Researchers were shocked to find 50% of BPA-free samples with BPA levels exceeding the EU threshold of 0.6 parts per million (PPM). In one of the bottles, the BPA concentration was 9.8ppm, about 16 times the limit, and 78.5% of the samples contained BPA.

The feeding bottles in India are regulated by the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992, as amended in 2003. The act mandates that all the feeding bottles sold in India will have to adhere to the specifications of the Bureau of Indian Standards. “The BIS revised the standard for feeding bottles in 2013 and prepared a draft notification banning BPA. Leave aside enforcement, even the changes have not been notified,” said Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Toxics Link.

 

Author’s take:

I would suggest everyone to keep expected moms, babies and children away from the plastic, as these are more prone to these endocrine disruptor chemicals. Many research studies have suggested that prolonged exposure or low dose exposure to the chemical in

  • early development stage, could affect them later in their lives
  • childhood or adulthood could affect reproduction and growth and
  • parents could affect the next generation.

Studies have shown links between BPA and cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other illnesses.

Alternatives:

Go for silicone based, glass based or stainless steel based milk bottles or sippy cups.

ECOTANSI-2.jpg

Note it as a thumb rule that a plastic should not come in contact with anything that goes inside us ( food or water etc).

Ciao. Stay healthy.

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