If youre an expectant parent, your shopping list will be huge. My advice, from long-ago experience, is to start buying all of babys paraphernalia, in bite-size chunks, as soon as news of conception has been confirmed.
Now, theres one more question to consider as you assemble your list. Glass bottles or plastic bottles?
Bisphenol-A is a chemical used to make clear, hard plastics, including plastic baby bottles. Plastic containers that have bisphenol-A are usually stamped No. 7. You may also see a PC stamp. No, it doesnt stand for that PC. It means polycarbonate.
Here is what we know about polycarbonate plastics containing bisphenol-A. The National Toxicology Program, a federal chemical research program, has released a draft study stating there is some concern that low-level exposure to bisphenol-A leads to neural and behavioral impacts in unborn babies, infants, and small children. Other possible impacts include early onset of puberty in girls, and impacts on the prostate and mammary glands.
Some concern is not a casual phrase. Scientists dont do casual when writing reports. Some concern is a carefully defined midpoint of a five-step spectrum ranging from negligible to serious concern.
Infants and kids ingest more bisphenol-A than adults because, pound for pound, the little ones eat, drink, and breathe more.
The possibility that bisphenol-A may alter human development cannot be dismissed, the study said carefully. We need more research, the experts added.
Canadas federal health agency may go further. The conservative government of PM Stephen Harper has proposed banning polycarbonate baby bottles and to list bisphenol-A as a toxic substance, among other steps. On Saturday, Health Canada opened a 60-day comment period on the proposal.
As often occurs, the market is moving ahead of the bureaucrats. North of the border, the Hudsons Bay retailing chain has announced it is stocking up on baby products free of the chemical. In the U.S., Wal-Mart will stop selling baby bottles containing bisphenol-A next year. Target has begun offering glass baby bottles. Nalgene Outdoor Products will stop using the chemical for its popular plastic water bottles.
So, as an expectant parent, what are you to make of all this? Forgive the brief dive into political philosophy, but prudence is one of the cardinal conservative virtues. It is imprudent to tinker with the marvelous biochemistry that governs human growth and development. Children utterly dependent on our decisions deserve the highest degree of cautious judgment.
In announcing its proposed ban on polycarbonate baby bottles, Canadas conservative government said the step might be taken in order to be prudent.
In other words, until we know more, spending a little extra on baby products that dont contain bisphenol-A sounds like the prudent thing to do.
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