Babies nibble on those plastic baby teethers the whole day. The BPA-Free label in the packaging assured us that our babies are not going to be exposed to those chemicals deemed harmful. But what if the teethers are exposing them contrary to what they are not supposed to do?
Researchers at the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center study the exposure of infants and children to these environmental chemicals including these endocrine disruptors like bisphenol A (BPA).
Endocrine disruptors like bisphenol A can can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.
Kurunthachalam Kannan and his colleague examined 59 different plastic baby teethers which 53 of them are sold in the US.
The team made sure that the baby teethers were free of any contaminants before soaking them in purified water in a duration that estimates the amount of time per day that babies suck on a teether.
The teethers were tested for 26 potential endocrine disruptors: bisphenols which are used in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins; parabens which are used as cosmetic preservatives; and benzophenones which are used as UV filters. Other disruptors like triclosan and triclocarban which are antimicrobials were also looked out for.
Using high-performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass-spectrometry, the researchers found that chemicals parabens, bisphenols, and benzophenones, and even smaller amounts of antimicrobials. were indeed leaching from the plastic teethers up to hundreds of nanograms each for one-year old children.
The European Food Safety Authority sets a maximum exposure for the disruptors at a threshold of 50 μg/kg per day; with methyl and ethyl paraben combined at 10 mg/kg per day.
The total amount as a result of the tested leaching in this study gave a figure of 13 ng/kg per day.
Heather Patisaul, a toxicologist and endocrine disruptor expert at North Carolina State University said, "Tiny exposures start to add up over the course of the day if you’re talking about a baby that has plastic teethers, plastic cups, plastic diapers.”
If people still gets cheated with harmful chemicals in the food we eat, it's not impossible that misrepresentation and deliberate misinformation may have also been employed in the things we use everyday.
For adults, those water bottles that claimed as BPA-Free may have a chance that they are really not.
The study is published in Environmental Science and Technology
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