Back in 2008 it seemed like everyone had at least started to hear about the dangers of chemicals leeching into our kids' food through their bottles, sippy cups, cereal bowls and more. Europe had done away with the sale of baby products containing BPA and America was pulling items from the shelves as quickly as manufacturers could capitalize on the new trend demanding "BPA-Free" labeling.
Since I had returned to work from the birth of my second child I had become a dairy production line and the bottles to match the pump were kind of prerequisite.
I had seen the reports and checked the site of the manufacturer of my extensive baby bottle collection. The site explained that throughout the European market and the US the company had voluntarily removed products found to be harmful immediately in lieu of waiting for local legislation to catch up to science. So the solution was simple, replace the bottles switch out the pump, move on.
Not entirely. Upon closer inspection of the available product line I saw lots of new shippments on shelves of our local drugstores and markets all from my brand. But I noticed that not a one of the new packages had new labeling or even a post production sticker to mark that these were BPA-free (safe) products. There were new brands that seemed to have popped up overnight that could proudly proclaim that they were in fact BPA-free. At every store I asked the pharmacist and sales associates "Are these the new bottles WITHOUT BPA?" At everystore I was given a vague and totally unsatisfying answer, "Yes these are the new bottles from the company."
Why could nobody look me in the eye and proclaim these were the BPA-Free products that are safe for your children? Needless to say, I didn't buy a single one of these bottles. There was something hallow in the answers I was receiving and I was not pacified by these empty promises.
After much inspection and hounding of the UK company's local importers I turned up some shocking replies to my search for safe bottles.
When the rest of Europe and the US demanded that these products be pulled from shelves for what was perceived as an apparent threat for European and American babies, the Middle East was receiving the rejected shipments for local sale.
Yes, that's rights. When baby bottles were determined to cause toxic leeching into babies milk and formula, all the recalled shipments to Europe and the US were packed up and shipped to other nations throughout the Developing World with slow legislation and lax safety laws.
I don't know if I will ever be in a position to use bottles again for another child. But I can say very certainly that despite my usually brand-loyal consumerism, I will never trust this company again.
Immediately following this bottle incident I went into a house-wide plastic cleaning frenzy. The entire bottle collection- gone. Tupperware and saved food containers- out. Questionable toys- no more.
We strive to keep a plastic free house and it feels pretty darn good.
This post over at Blogher reminded me how angry I still am at this company in particular.
And this is a pretty good summery of BPA, what it is and why you should think twice about the convenience of plastics from a water appreciation site out of South Africa. The graphic "The BPA in You" is from their website which works for the promotion and appreciation of safe drinking water.