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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bisphenol, Say What?

Over the past year and a half I have read countless articles on the possible risks of early exposure to the severe food allergens. You ask yourself questions ... is there a risk due to soy being in formula? when should we introduce cow's milk? etc, etc, etc. All parents ask questions like these but as parents who manage a severe food allergy, we have certainly seen this self-questioning intensify.

The irony is that we spent all of this energy on optimizing the contents of our baby bottles, while it might actually be the bottles themselves that are a greater concern.

The news media and blogosphere have been heavily engaged in the debate on bisphenol A (BPA). The concern is that BPA mimics the hormone estrogen and even in minute quantities might lead to several health concerns. The only good news in the article referenced above is that once our Gerber and Avent bottles cool it appears that the BPA no longer leaches in to the liquid. In other words, though BPA would possibly leach in the dishwasher, the fact that we steam our bottle milk using an espresso machine, versus 'nuking' the bottles in the microwave, might possibly limit the exposure.

It strikes me that the BPA scare has a parallel with the concerns over the apparent increase in the incidence of childhood food allergy. We do not know whether early introduction of peanuts causes peanut allergy, nor do we know whether the use of bottles containing BPA really causes early onset of puberty or cancer over the long term.

The chemical industry contends that BPA in baby bottles "is not a risk to human health at the extremely low levels to which consumers might be exposed."

Forgive me if I do not take your word for it.

We will be replacing our bottles today.


allergicmom said...

Both my kids have allergies, but they were exclusively breastfed. The older one got BM in a bottle maybe once a week, and still developed a peanut allergy that tested >100 on his RAST test. So it's not all about the bottles -- it's probably more about genetics.

NoPeanuts said...

Agreed. After our first child had the peanut allergy we were afraid to give our second child anything. The problem is that you cannot eliminate everything and there is a huge debate of whether you should hold foods back or not.

We decided to give our second daughter everything (except egg, shellfish and peanut - to avoid our oldest wanting some too!).

We watched carefully when new foods were introduced and so far so good ... except for a mild reaction to mushrooms.

I am still convinced of a genetic predisposition to allergy with some sort of 'randomness' to actually trigger the predisposition into a full-blown allergy. It seems that an allergen needs to be in the right place at the right time to create a severe allergy ... but that is one man's guess =)