Okay, I admit it. Plastics are officially freaking me out now.
In many ways I am the laid-back mom, the one who’s like, eh, Thalia sticking her fingers in her mouth after riding on the subway will only make her immune system stronger. Besides – hey, maybe there’s something healthy on that pole there! Maybe a leftover bit of wheatgrass splattered by an early morning commuter-slash-vegan? A mother can only hope.
I don’t give my kids baths daily, I don’t freak about letting Thalia eat a few of my Cheetos, and I only blinked three times before speaking when my mother-in-law informed me she took Thalia to McDonald’s. But only because there are like 18 better places to get your transfats in our neighborhood.
But all this stuff about plastics? It has me worried.
When I first heard nervous twittering from environmental types (thanks, J. Lisa!) I blew it off. I didn’t want to know. Better not to know. Know what? What are you even talking about? I have no idea. How ’bout them Yankees?
But then another friend emailed me a pdf from the California study on plastics in baby bottles and I forced myself to sit down, act like a parent, get over my shit and read the damn thing. You can too: It’s here. It’s easy to get through, in nice clean type, and doesn’t feel at all like homework. Except for maybe a graph or two.
Here’s the one paragraph summary as I understand it, without getting all science-y on you: Chemicals linked to heinously heinous diseases and conditions are getting into our bodies through certain plastics, and especially the ones with a little 7 in the recycling triangle stamped on the bottom. Heating these plastics, or repeated washing of them, makes it worse because the plastic starts breaking down.
So what plastics are often heated and washed repeatedly, then go into our kids’ mouths?
(I would mention pacifiers but since we rarely wash ours, I can breathe easier. Phew.)
Five brands of baby bottles were tested to see which were “leaching” toxins, and the highest offenders are Avent and Evenflo, with my fancy schmancy Dr. Brown’s falling in the middle along with Gerber, and then Playtex – not as bad.
Now considering Thalia spent the better part of 2 years with a Dr. Brown’s bottle between her lips and Sage is about to do the same, I wasn’t too happy about this. I didn’t race right out for blood tests just yet, but I wasn’t happy.
So first step: I stopped washing bottles and plastic sippy cups in the dishwasher driving Nate bonkers. He’s still in the fingers in the ear LALALALALA phase of this whole thing. Then I stopped microwaving anything in plastic containers. Then I bought some Sigg bottles which maybe I’ll even use one of these days. Good intentions, good intentions.
But then, today.
Today I go and read the Baby Bargains Book Blog (thanks to Greg at Daddy Types) – and any of you who have ever read that book knows the authors are awesome and conscientious and credible consumer advocates. Well it turns out that the JPMA, that so-called safety group that tells you which cribs could decapitate a limb or what not, is essentially not all as “We love you mommies! We want to protect your kids!” as they say they are. In fact, they’re kind of the opposite. Another freaking lobbyist who’s out there opposing the proposed ban of those chemicals in baby bottles because eh…could hurt sales.
Who do we trust any more? Who’s out there looking out for us? I mean Jesus Christ on a Stoned Wheat Thin (regular sodium), I always assumed the government more or less had our best interests at heart. I really did. But between this and the toy recalls I’m on the verge of turning into one of those conspiracy theorists who think the White House actually has a plan to make us all sick intentionally to help the folks at pharmaceutical companies with their profit margins.
So what do we do about it? How do we get moms like me (you know, the ones–like me–who are like, Eh…plastics. Whatever. Everything is bad for you these days if you read enough, right?) to take their heads out of the very comfy, cozy sand and read the research and stop buying these products? How do we keep our kids relatively safe–not cuckoo bird safe, but just regular old safe.
And no jokes about keeping your kids in plastic bubbles. Because that’s probably now bad for them too.
We are a force to be reckoned with, parents who blog! Can we put our Wondertwin rings together and activate?
Kind, wonderful, informed readers: I appreciate all the URLs you’re leaving but sadly my template doesn’t. If you could kindly hotlink the url if it’s longer than like 4 letters, that would be great – or if you don’t know how, email me and I’ll post it for you.
Update 12/23/08 It seems the FDA has finally come around ohhhh… a mere 15 months later. Read: FDA to Reconsider Plastic Bottle Risk in the NY Times