Most of us are aware that we should steer clear of Bisphenol A (BPA) when buying water bottles or any other plastic products. The harmful chemical is endocrine-disrupting, and potentially damaging to human development.
Researchers at the American Chemical Society (ACS) analyzed five dozen baby teethers for their chemical makeup. The results of the experiment showed that all contained BPA as well as other endocrine-disrupting chemicals, regardless of their “BPA-free” or “non-toxic” label. Traces of parabens as well as antimicrobial agents triclosan and triclocarban were also found.
Chemicals such as BPA can be transmitted orally, during a process called leaching. An analysis of chemical leaching was performed by ACS on teethers as they were exposed to water, which mimicked saliva. The results of the study showed that the teethers did indeed leach these potentially harmful chemicals.
Given that the sole purpose of baby teethers is to be chewed on by children as their teeth grow in, the results of the study are substantial. However, despite the ACS’s findings, no regulation has been put in place thus far, because standards to control traces of endocrine-disrupting chemicals are yet to be defined. It is still unclear what exact dose is considered to be toxic when it comes to BPA.
Kurunthachalam Kannan and colleagues from the N.Y. State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center claim that “the findings [of this study] could be used to develop appropriate policies to protect infants from exposure to potentially toxic chemicals found in teethers.”
Regardless, it is important for mothers and fathers to be aware of the potential dangers of exposing their children to the chemical: obesity, cancer, childhood anxiety and childhood hyperactivity.
Although the traces of BPA found in teethers now are presumed to be harmless, it is expected that the FDA will soon regulate their use in order to protect infants and children from overexposure.
Photo: Iyaz, CC-BY
Elizabeth Chambers is a freelance writer based in Athens, Georgia.