In their blog post, Our Poorly Managed Plastic System, Enviroblog spells out what most frustrated parents across America are thinking, “Just label the dang plastic already!”
But that would mean admitting there might be a problem with some of the chemicals used in baby feeding products, wouldn’t it? It’s quickly becoming apparent that mandating labels may be a long time in coming. The plastics industry recently established its swaying power when the FDA released their announcement regarding the safety of BPA:
The FDA has determined that the use of polycarbonate-based baby bottles and BPA-based epoxy coated cans used to hold infant formula is safe.
Well, there it is. Thanks for the insight, but I’ve decided that my child is worth an err on the side of caution. I prefer to support the action plan presented by Environment and Human Health Inc. (EHHI). Enviroblog did a fantastic job summarizing the key points:
The U.S. government should require labeling and warning systems for products containing bisphenol A (BPA) and the phthalate DEHP, according to researchers at the nonprofit Environment and Human Health inc. (EHHI).
EHHI points out that production of BPA and DEHP (used in the production of PVC plastic) has increased since the ’90s, and so has our scientific understanding of endocrine disruption. Meanwhile, our systems for recycling polycarbonate and PVC plastic haven’t gotten any better. We’ve got enough data to demonstrate the negative health effects, so why isn’t the government doing anything about it?
Amongst EHHI’s recommendations are a ban on BPA and DEHP in products intended for children 3 and under (note: this recommendation wouldn’t address canned food. EWG supports an outright ban on BPA). They also recommend creating a meaningful code and labeling system for all plastics. The recycling code wasn’t meant to tell consumers what ingredients are in their plastic, but that’s exactly the kind of system we need. In addition, EHHI argues, the government should warn pregnant women or women who may become pregnant to avoid exposure to BPA and DEHP. Of course, since we’re all supposed to think of ourselves as pre-pregnant, that would require women to avoid DEHP and BPA for their entire productive lives. Cut out half of the users of these plastics, and you may as well cut out the plastics altogether.
The idea of creating a meaningful labeling system would thrill parents who are overwhelmed and discouraged in searching for safer alternatives. In the meantime, we’ll just keep plugging along doing what what we know is right. Eventually the plastics industry will have to find another way to make their money, because no one will be buying their toxic plastic . . .