I've just read a really interesting post over on Diary of a First Child about what is actually contained in that little bottle of pink gooey stuff known as Calpol. It got me thinking about other things that we don't think twice about as parents and I thought that I should share this with you too.
I first came across this story ten years ago when I was doing some research for a press release - and what I found really scared me. I'm talking Bisphenol-A (BPA).
As a chemical BPA is widely used in the making of polycarbonate bottles, plastic food and drink packaging even though it is known to cause neurological and hormonal damage to animals.
But did you know that it is used in the manufacture of baby feeding bottles and cups too?
I know that I certainly didn't.
As adults we will all contain levels of BPA - we were contaminated a long time ago but because of their body weight, children and babies in particular are far more susceptible to adverse affects from chemical exposures than adults, even at very low doses.
So think about the bottle or cup that your child drinks from. Did you know that manufacturers recommend that you replace then every four to five months?
I know that I didn't know that.
Did you know that when you heat a baby bottle, as many parents do to warm formula or breast milk, potentially dangerous levels of BPA leach into the liquid?
Did you know that if your feeding bottles are scratched due to cleaning that the leaching of the chemicals is worse?
Of course you didn't because manufacturers don't have to list the chemical make up of their products - and we as consumers just presume that they are safe to use.
Two years ago San Francisco became the first American state to ban the sale of baby feeding bottles that contain Bisphenol-A and then Canada followed their lead. Since then the debate has escalated as the US media uncovered the story that the baby bottle manufacturers have tried to keep hidden.
While industry leaders continue to defend the use of BPA, it has been linked by scientists to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity and possibly autism.
I have followed this story with interest and have secured a few national articles on it over the last ten years but to a certain extent it is still looked upon as scare mongering. I was even told by one leading baby magazine editor that they wouldn't feature it because they didn't want to scare their readers.....
That doesn't wash with me and I interpret that as them not wanting to upset their advertisers whose products are rife with BPA.
Things are beginning to change though as earlier this month the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) stood up to be counted and called for companies to stop using BPA in the manufacturing of their baby bottles and environmentalists are calling for clearer labeling by manufacturers whose baby products contain BPA, so that parents can make an informed decision before purchasing equipment that could pose a potential long term danger to their child.
So I urge you to check your bottles. Go to the manufacturers websites and find out what their bottles are made from. There are more and more companies moving away from BPA use including Price Lionheart, Mebby and bibi. Or ditch the plastic altogether and go for glass bottles. They are much stronger than you think. I used Green Baby with all of my children - and in fact I didn't have to replace them and used the same set of bottles with all three. Mebby also do a really good wide neck glass bottle that is just as user friendly as your regular bottle.
Mebby produce a BPA free range of Gentlefeed baby bottles made from chemical free Polyether Sulfone (PES), an innovative medical grade plastic that is honey coloured, hygienic and unbreakable. Mebby bottles are available in three sizes 150ml, 250ml and 280ml and feature an anti-colic silicone teat.