What to Avoid in Plastic Bottles and Dishware

08.31.09 What to Avoid in Plastic Bottles and Dishware

As parents we spend so much time obsessed with what we are feeding our children.  Who knew we also had to worry about the plates, cups and utensils too?  Unfortunately, potentially harmful chemicals can be found in these items.  These three are best avoided (for children and adults!):


Bisphenol-A (BPA) is found in hard plastic bottles, including many baby bottles sold today. BPA mimics the hormone estrogen in the body and may interfere with the development of the reproductive system as well as brain cell development. When Environment California released its “Toxic Baby Bottles report” it found BPA in all five of the leading baby bottle brands. The report also revealed that with regular use, such as dishwashing or leaving the bottle in the sun for a long time, the bottles leach BPA at levels high enough to be considered risky for babies and young children. Traces of BPA have also been found in baby formula where it is released from the lining of the can.


Phthalates are often found in soft plastics and material made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They can be found in baby bibs, placemats, lunchboxes, teethers, or high chair seat covers. The problem is, Phthalates are considered by many researchers to be highly hazardous to human health because they disrupt the hormonal balance and can impair reproduction and development. Because of this, at least six of the most common phthalates have been banned or restricted across Europe and the U.S. is currently working to implement similar restrictions on children’s products sold here.


Those colorful, hard, unbreakable children’s plates, bowls, and cups that many of us associate with childhood are made from melamine. Melamine itself is of low toxicity. However, combined with certain foods it can create big problems. Melamine tableware is also made with formaldehyde, which has been linked to allergies, asthma, and cancer. Research shows that formaldehyde and melamine can seep into food from dishware from routine use such as dishwashing or coming into contact with fruit juice or hot foods.

Want to learn more?  Check out our Guide to Plastics.

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