It’s a Plastic Jungle Out There

I barely passed high school chemistry. I probably would have paid more attention had I known I’d need a strong understanding of science to decipher labels and grasp the complexities of baby bottle plastics.

Fortunately I can turn to the experts to learn about the latest products I have to put under the microscope. But sometimes, it seems like even the experts aren’t making much sense.

I read this article about dealing with plastics by Christine Lepisto, a blogger and chemical safety consultant. And then I read it again, wondering if it was just me or if the article was contradicting itself?

So I emailed Christine to ask her the following:

You say, “Then, actively leach your plastics before the first use by soaking them in a solution of saltwater, followed by letting them stand with some alcohol in them. Wash well with mild (non-antibacterial) soap, and rinse well before use.

But then you say, “hand washing at moderate temperatures, never microwaving plastics, and keeping plastics out of direct sunlight.” – which would seem to avoid leaching…

I’d always been under the assumption that you want to avoid any practices that would cause chemicals to leak from plastics, as they would just leach ones and then stop – that they would keep leaching as the plastic breaks down. Is that incorrect? I was discussing this article with some of my colleagues and we just wanted to clarify the information for ourselves and for potential blog posts. Do we want to leach sippy cups before use? Or do we want to try to avoid heat altogether?

Fortunately Christine was super responsive, and created a whole new blog post to clarify my concerns. While I know Christine has a far superior scientific background than mine, I am still not entirely sure about this idea of “pre-leaching.” The good folks at Healthy Child, Healthy World aren’t so sure either, and took the opportunity to post another follow-up question.

“I also wonder, while I understand how this could work for “available” chemicals (perhaps additives that give the plastic a desired quality) – how could this work for a plastic like polycarbonate whose suspect chemical (BPA) is actually the building block of the plastic?”

I know – this probably all sounds like scientific babble. It pretty much does to me too. I think we all just want to get to the bottom of the question of plastics – which once upon of time were supposed to completely improve our quality of life.

In the meantime, I don’t feel like playing around. I just ordered some well-reviewed silicone coated glass sippy cups from Lifefactory, and I’m hoping they live up to the task of being leak-free and shatterproof. Because slipping on wet floors and breaking glass aren’t something I need to the anxiety file…

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