Phthalates, sippy cups, and Bisphenol-A: unhiding the hidden dangers
Well! Hey! You sure do have some, you know, opinions about circumcision! Don’t you! Wow!
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Please don’t hurt me.
And now, let’s back away slowly from all controversial parenting topics, shall we? New topic for the week: kids! Can’t live with them, can’t sell them. You know what I’m saying? Hoo!
(Anticipated email response: I CANT BELIEVE YOU WANT TO SELL YOUR KID!! I PRAY FOR YOU!!!!)
(I have so many people praying for me, you guys. I’m totally going to heaven! The good heaven, too, where you get to watch 30 Rock and eat all the Snickers bars you want.)
Back to the topic at hand, which I see I haven’t yet mentioned: the hidden dangers. Of what, you may ask?
It appears that our children are surrounded by toxins. Steeped in carcinogens. Soaking in chemicals. Which I guess means that we are, too, only we don’t matter as much because our brains are already full grown, and let’s face it, we’re not getting any smarter. Let’s worry about the children, who I believe are our future.
For instance, have you heard of Bisphenol A? Here’s a chemical that’s found in water bottles, food and beverage can linings, and dental sealants—and it doesn’t stay there. No, Bisphenol A, or BPA, tends to migrate out of the bottles or cans and into the water or food contained therein. But once it’s ingested—which apparently it is, regularly—is it harmful? That’s the topic being debated. Not surprisingly, manufacturers of plastic bottles and canned foods argue that the levels of BPA that can be ingested are safe. Studies, however, show otherwise. BPA levels have been linked to ovarian dysfunction and increased miscarriage rates, as well as significant risks to infants and unborn children. More studies need to be performed; we don’t know enough, but what we do know doesn’t bode well. So in the meantime, here’s an excellent guide to BPA-free baby bottles and sippy cups.
Speaking of sippy cups: they’re not just for chemical-leaching anymore! No, sippy cups also cause speech problems. Thumb sucking can cause similar problems, with the presence of either the thumb or the sippy cup spout putting the child’s tongue in an unnatural position. As a result, your child might have speech problems such as slurring or lisping. The expert’s recommendation? Encourage the use of a straw, and prevent thumb sucking by putting mittens on your infant. (Good luck on that last one.)
Okay, maybe that item wasn’t as scary, but this next one will terrify you. Your baby’s baby shampoo is DEADLY! Yes!
Let me explain. Your baby’s shampoo or lotion or powder probably contains phthalates, which are bad. More specifically, some of them, but not all, have been linked to endocrine disruption in animals. And after all, babies are small animals! So phthalates are bad bad BAD. And the fragrances in your baby products may contain phthalates, but you’ll never know because they’re not listed in the ingredients, because specific components of fragrances don’t have to be listed. Incidentally, we have no real clue if phthalates are bad for you, or not. The levels found in babies appear to be far lower than should warrant any kind of concern. But we are concerned. And you should be, too! BoooOOOOOooooo! Phthalates!
In conclusion: BPAs are bad; straws are good; mittens are silly; phthalates are something we can worry about later. I think we can all agree on these points, yes?