Why there’s a question mark over BPA and whether it’s better to buy BPA free toys.
In the last of our blogs about chemicals which you may find in your children’s toys, we look at Bisphenol A (BPA) and why or if we should avoid it and buy PVC, phthalate and BPA free toys instead.
What is BPA?
BPA is used to make certain plastics and resins and around 3.6 million tons of BPA is used by manufacturers annually in a huge variety of common consumer goods.
But it’s a pollutant and with over one million pounds of BPA being released into the environment each year, it’s a major source of environmental contamination affecting growth, reproduction and development in aquatic organisms and wildlife.
More than 90% of us have BPA in our bodies and we get most of it by eating foods that have been in containers made with BPA although it’s also possible to pick it up through air, dust, and water. So unsurprisingly many parents are worried about exposing babies and children to the effects of BPA and other chemicals.
But are children’s toys containing BPA dangerous?
Opinions vary greatly about the health effects of BPA. Some studies conclude that BPA poses no health risks while others state that BPA can be linked to a number of health concerns.
The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food, the EU’s European Chemicals Bureau, the European Food Safety Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration have all concluded that current levels of BPA present no risk to the general population.
However, in September 2010 Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance and more recently the European Union and the United States have banned BPA use in baby bottles.
And there are reports (largely as a result of animal studies) to suggest that BPA may have some potential to effect the brain, behavior and prostate glands in foetuses, infants and young children as well as being linked to cancer, heart and other problems.
What can parents do?
Remember if you’re buying plastics to check the packaging. There are seven classes of plastics used and in general plastics that are marked with Resin Identification Codes (RIC) 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA. Currently there are no BPA labeling requirements but some plastics that are marked with the RIC 3 (PVC) and 7 (OTHER PLASTICS) may contain BPA.
Just play it safe.
While the scientific evidence about the effects of BPA is often complicated and conflicting, we at The Toadstool believe that parents have the right to be informed and in the face of any doubt about safety, we think most parents would rather buy BPA-Free children’s toys whenever they can. We promise to clearly mark all our BPA, phthalate and PVC free toys to make it easy for you to go for the safest option when it comes to your child.
What do you think?