Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nontoxic Bath Toys

Bath time can turn from simple nightly ritual to the highly-anticipated event of the day. Your baby will begin to splash in the water with intent and purpose. While adults may find that a good bubble bath product makes a bath perfect, for babies a good bath is all about the tub toy. Let's keep our children safe by choosing non toxic bath toys and bath products.

The toys listed below are all BPA-/PVC-/phthalate-free. I urge you to read the explanation below as to why you must avoid each.
Whole list here:

Organic wash cloth puppets $7.50 at fatbraintoys

Sassy Al-i-Sorter, Aquatic Bobbers, Bath Links, Bath Wigglers, Bloom 'N Groom Garden Set, Count 'N Spell Bath Appliques, Counting Fish 'N Net, Double Duckies, Fishing Links, Hip-O Boat, Hook, Line and Linkers, Musical Bobbing Sprites, Soft Ducky, Squirting Sea Creatures, Squishy Squirt Pals, Tubby Tumblers, Twist and Turn Trio
Sassy Bathtime Fun Appliques - $12.99 at amazon

Bath Letters and Numbers, Sea & Learn Bath Shapes, Caterpiller Spillers, Go, Diego Go! Floating Foam Letters, Floating Foam Letters

Boon Frog Pod $20 from amazon

Learning Curve Finding Nemo Bath Cups, Finding Nemo Bath Scrubby, Nemo Wash Glove

Kel-Gar Tubbly-Bubbly faucet covers; Faucet Friends $9 at babyearth,

Rich Frog Industries Royal Ducks, Original Rubber Duck, Ooh and Aah, Pirate Duck, Reader Duck, Squeaky Bathtub Frog, Sitting Duck, Mr. Big the Giant Rubber Duck.

Sit N Store Parent Step Stool and Bath Seat $16 at learningcurve

Bisphenol A Plastics Chemical is Unsafe at Any Level, Says BPA Researcher

hursday, September 18, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) As Canada considers banning bisphenol A (BPA) in all infant products, a leading BPA researcher warns that even this unprecedented measure does not go far enough.

"If it's hard and clear and doesn't say 'No BPA,' don't use it," said Frederick vom Saal of the University of Missouri-Columbia.

BPA is used as an ingredient in polycarbonate plastic products, such as infant and water bottles, to make them hard and translucent. It is also used in the liners of food cans. Because BPA has been known to disrupt the hormonal system, leading to behavioral and developmental problems and cancer in animals, health advocates have raised concern over the possibility that the chemical could leak from cans or plastic containers into people's food and water. Heat in particular appears to increase the rate at which the chemical leaches out.

More than 90 percent of people over the age of six test positive for BPA in the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vom Saal noted that numerous animal studies have linked BPA to behavioral changes such as ADHD or altered play, and to sex problems such as decreased sperm count, feminization of males, and prostate cancer.

"All of this is occurring at exposures in animals that lead to blood levels that I guarantee are below what are in your body," he said. "No level has ever been found in animal experiments that doesn't cause harm."

Mel Suffet, a public health professor and environmental chemist from the University of California-Los Angeles, urged consumers to avoid products made with BPA.

"Why use something with a potential danger?" he said. "It's kind of silly. Better safe than sorry."

Vom Saal agreed, noting, "There are alternatives to everything made from BPA."

Ways to limit BPA exposure include avoiding any polycarbonate plastics (recycle code 7), and instead using glass, porcelain or stainless steel. The National Toxicology Program also recommends eating fewer canned foods.

Those who do use polycarbonate plastics should keep them out of the microwave or dishwasher and void putting hot food or liquid into them.

Sources for this story include:

Learn more:

There is growing debate about the potential health implications of the chemicals that leach from some plastics, and especially their possible effects on babies. You may have seen headlines raising concerns about the soft vinyl teethers and toys that infants sometimes suck or chew. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has, as a precaution, recommended that parents dispose of any such items they own. Based on our own findings, we think the agency's advice is sound.
But soft vinyl isn't the only plastic used in baby products that may contain chemicals that have caused harm to lab animals. We also found that one such chemical leached into simulated infant formula when we heated it in one type of clear plastic baby bottle.
Parents whose infants use plastic bottles and teethers shouldn't panic. It isn't yet known what risk, if any, the chemicals that can leach from some of these items may represent to humans. However, until more is known about their effects, it makes sense to limit exposure to them. That's especially wise when it comes to infants, who could be at highest risk.
Here's a rundown of our findings, and advice on what they may mean for parents:
Teethers and soft toys
Mainly at issue here are items made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), commonly known as vinyl. PVC's soft texture is imparted by "plasticizing" chemicals. The plasticizer most widely used in teethers is DINP, a member of the phthalate family of chemicals. Administered to lab animals at high doses, DINP has caused cancer and damaged the liver, kidneys, and other organs.
PVC is used for a range of soft toys and other items for infants, but the greatest concern is with teethers, since those are specifically designed to be "mouthed"--and the chewing action can break down the plastic, accelerating the release of chemicals. (Pacifiers and feeding-bottle nipples are made of latex or silicone, and so are not of concern.)
Six of seven widely available teethers we bought and tested last December were made of PVC and contained DINP. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has assured parents that "few, if any, children are at risk" because the amount of DINP they may ingest from mouthing PVC toys is well below the level believed harmful. However, the commission also said more studies are needed to fully assess DINP's possible effects on infants.
The Vinyl Institute and the Toy Manufacturers of America, the respective industry trade organizations, say that PVC toys and teethers, which have been used for 50 years, are safe. Still, most toy makers have indicated that they'll voluntarily comply with the commission's request to reformulate those products and switch to less controversial materials--including polyethylene or EVA plastic, which contain no plasticizers.
However, PVC teethers and baby toys remain on the shelves in some stores. Gerber, a major manufacturer, says it has withdrawn all phthalate-containing teethers from stores. However, most other manufacturers have pledged only to stop making any more such items. Since we bought our teethers, some major retailers, including Kmart, Sears, Target, Toys "R" Us, and Wal-Mart, have removed such items, and will now stock only products that manufacturers vouch for as phthalate-free. But in early March, our shoppers confirmed that many of the PVC teethers we bought last year remained on the shelves at some retailers, such as major drugstore chains.
Baby bottles
The question here focuses on baby bottles made from polycarbonate, a clear and rigid plastic. We bought six different bottles and heated plastic from each in simulated infant formula. The plastic from each of the bottles leached into our test formula a chemical called bisphenol-A, which in lab animals has produced physiological effects similar to those produced by estrogen. During such "endocrine disruption," chemicals interfere with or mimic the action of hormones, possibly upsetting normal development. (Subscribers, see our June 1998 report, which included tests for chemicals that can leach from certain plastic wraps into fatty foods.)
Based on testing with an intact bottle, we calculate that a typical baby who drank formula sterilized by heating in the bottle would be exposed to a bisphenol-A dose of about 4 percent of an amount that has adversely affected test animals in studies by Frederick vom Saal, professor of biological science at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Such exposure may sound very low. However, safety limits for infant exposure can be set as low as 0.1 percent of the level that has adversely affected animals. Babies who used the bottles we tested could be exposed to a bisphenol-A dose 40 times higher than that conservative definition of safety.
George Pauli, the director of the division of product policy at the Food and Drug Administration, said the agency has looked into bisphenol-A leaching, and it stands by its decades-old approval of polycarbonate baby bottles as safe. We think the FDA needs to re-examine the issue in light of our data and recent concerns about the sensitivity of babies to the estrogenlike effects of chemicals such as bisphenol-A.
Teethers. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has created a Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel, which the agency hopes will report in about a year on the safety of PVC, phthalates, and alternative substances. Meanwhile, we recommend that parents of young children follow the commission's advice to dispose of all PVC teethers and soft toys used by infants "as a precaution," and to replace them with items that are phthalate-free.
To increase your chance of finding phthalate-free items, shop at one of the stores that have pledged to stop selling heavily mouthed baby products with phthalates, including Kmart, Sears, Target, Toys "R" Us, and Wal-Mart.
If you shop elsewhere, avoid using the item until you call the manufacturer's toll-free number you'll find on the product packaging. Return the item to the store if it isn't phthalate-free.
Baby bottles. Just to be safe, to avoid any possible exposure to bisphenol-A we advise parents of young children to dispose of polycarbonate baby bottles and replace them with bottles made of glass or polyethylene, an opaque, less-shiny plastic that does not leach bisphenol-A.
Unfortunately, plastic baby bottles do not explicitly indicate that they're made of polycarbonate. But there are some ways you can tell; see "What to Do," below. Or you could call the manufacturer's toll-free number, listed on the package.
It shouldn't be this difficult for parents to make an informed choice about plastic items for their babies. The Children's Environmental Protection and Right to Know Act, a welcome bill introduced in May 1998 by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., would require disclosure to the government of potentially toxic chemicals used in children's products. If implemented, that requirement would eventually allow parents to consult, say, a government web site for information on the composition of plastic toys. Right now, it would help if manufacturer's web sites included this information.

What to do / Precautionary steps

Dispose of: All teethers and heavily mouthed toys made of soft plastic.
Replace with: New items that manufacturers confirm are made from plastics that don't contain phthalates. Call the toll-free numbers usually found on packaging.
Dispose of: All clear, shiny plastic baby bottles, unless the manufacturer tells you they're not made of polycarbonate.
Replace with: Bottles made of glass or an opaque, less-shiny plastic (the plastic bottles are often colored).

Baby Care Products linked to Phthalate Exposure

Jennifer Taggart
Monday, February 04, 2008
First plastic baby bottles. Then lead contaminated toys. Now baby shampoo? Are baby shampoos, lotions and other baby care personal products linked to infants' exposure to phthalates? It appears so. A study published in the journal "Pediatrics" found use of baby care products linked to the presence of phthalates in urine, with increased exposure to baby lotion linked to increased exposure to phthalates. The study concluded that phthalate exposure is widespread in infants (81% of the infants had 7 phthalates above detection limits), that infant exposure to lotion, powder, and shampoo were significantly associated with increased presence of phthalate metabolites in urine, and phthalate exposure increased with number of baby products used.
What in the world are phthalates and why are they in baby care products? Phthalates are added to a wide variety of consumer products, from polyvinyl chloride plastics to personal care products. Phthalates are plasticizers. They are added to polyvinyl chloride products to make them more flexible. They are also added to lotions to make them more spreadable. They are also used to sustain fragrance in personal care products.
Why do we care about phthalate exposure? Some phthalates are endocrine disruptors. An endocrine disruptor is a synthetic chemical that when absorbed into the body either mimics or blocks hormones and disrupts the body's normal functions. Research has associated exposure to phthalates with asthma and other respiratory problems, rhinitis and eczema in children; premature breast development in girls; and deteriorated semen quality, low sperm counts, and poor sperm morphology in men.
What did the study do? The researchers collected urine from wet diapers and information regarding infant care product use during the last 24 hours. The collected urine samples were analyzed for 9 different phthalate metabolites (the metabolites are indicative of phthalate exposure). The researchers found that all babies had detectable levels of at least one phthalate metabolite. Over 80% of the babies had at least 7 metabolites. Four metabolites (MEP, MBP, MBzP and MEOHP) occurred in over 90% of the babies sampled.
How were the phthalate metabolites linked to baby care products? Ninety-four percent of mothers reported they had used infant wipes within the last 24 hours, and 54% had used infant shampoo. Reported use of baby lotion, desitin/diaper cream and baby powder were 36%, 33% and 14%, respectively. The researchers found the following statistically significant associations: Levels of MEP and MMP were higher if the mother reported using baby lotion; MMP was higher following use of baby shampoo; and MiBP was higher following baby powder use. But what is interesting is that when the researchers looked at the mixtures of phthalate metabolites and exposure the associations between use of products and exposure were higher. Baby lotion, baby powder and baby shampoo showed statistically strong associates with higher mixture scores, whereas diaper cream and baby wipes did not. Also, mixture scores were higher for babies whose mothers reported using more products in the last 24 hours.
What can you do? Limit exposure to baby care products containing phthalates. This is hard, because phthalates don't have to be listed (except certain ones in California under Proposition 65) and are frequently present in "fragrance." Which is what you can do - stay away from products with fragrance. MEP, a metabolite of DEP, had the highest average concentrations in urine, and DEP is the phthalate commonly added to fragrance.

-----Common chemical turns children into monsters

If you think kids are just plain rotten now, just wait a few years. The next generation is going to be the worst group yet.

It's not because of poor parenting (although that will certainly play its part). It's because of toxic chemicals.

A new study finds that phthalates -- estrogen-like chemicals found in plastics -- are turning kids into bratty little monsters with serious physical, mental, and behavioral issues.

Researchers measured phthalate levels in the urine of 319 pregnant women, and tracked the kids for three years. Even at the tender age of three, those problems were already cropping up.

The researchers found that boys and girls alike with the highest levels of prenatal exposure were more likely to have behavioral problems and delays in motor skills. Girls got a bonus: They were lacking in the brains department, too.

I feel bad for the teachers of tomorrow. They're going to have their work cut out for them, and this is going to get a whole lot worse down the road. The researchers say phthalates levels have skyrocketed since 2004, in some cases nearly tripling previous measurements.

Believe it or not, the problems don't end there. Like I said, this stuff acts like estrogen in the body, and other studies have shown it's practically turning boys into girls.

Some are even sprouting breasts! I'd crack a joke about a rise in male figure skaters in the coming years, but the delayed motor skills probably rules out that career path.

Naturally, you can't count on the government to help you out here. The Environmental Protection Agency says its so concerned by phthalate risk that it plans to add these chemicals to its list of things to be concerned about... one of these days.


William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

Related Posts

No comments: