March 11, 2007

kid plastics

I'm have been looking into the use of plastics and kids toys because San Francisco recetnly passed a law regarding it. On June 16, Mayor Gavin Newsom signed into law (effective December 1, 2006) the Stop Toxic Toys bill, which would ban two toxic chemicals—phthalates and bisphenol-A—from children’s toys and feeding products. Apparently much of Europe has already banned the use of these plastics, but the US has not.

I thought it sounded like a good idea, but I had no idea which plastics contained the dangerous chemicals. How do I know if our sippy cups are okay?

Environment California has some great information on their website, including a list of what phthalates and bisphenol-A can do to you.

I also learned that it is a good idea to avoid plastics with the numbers:
#3 PVC - phthalates (hormone disruptor)
#7 polycarbonate - bisphenol-A (hormone disruptor)
#6 polystyrene - styrene - possible human carcinogen

The better plastics are:
polypropylene (#5)
polyethylene (#1,#2,#4).
The containers need to be discarded if they get worn down, degraded, overused etc.

It seems to be a good idea to avoid heating plastics, and possibly even freezing in them as the temperature changes can cause leeching.

Many of our sippy cups and items didn't have numbers on them. I ended up tossing anything that was worn or that I wasn't sure about (especially plastic bath toys that get chewed on. most rubber duckies are pvc!)

I was very glad to learn that our favorite sippy cups are safe. My kids love tomee tippy cups.I called the company to see about the plastic safety and they assured me that since they are made in England they are held to a higher standard and none of those toxins are permitted in the plastics.

Environment california also has a shopping guide pdf document to keep your kids toxic-free.

update 7/07:
We did finally get rid of the tomee tippy cups as well. I was concerned they may contain Bisphenol A since they are made form plastic #7. When I called the company I had been specifically asking about phalates only. We now use Sigg bottles when we need a spill-proof option.


laura said...

hey amy - nice blog!!
i have a question about not freezing plastics - have you found any alternatives? having trouble thinking of non-plastic containers for my soup stock.
thanks for listing the numbers to avoid - i'm always forgetting!

mom go green said...

Freezing is tricky. I am still working this out myself.

I know some people who do use glass in the freezer, but you have to be really careful about expansion (things can break). I saw one suggestion online to try tempered glass products, like Corning Ware. I know someone who uses glass jars (like canning and preserve jars).

I bought a bunch of glass food storage caontainers at Ikea, but I haven't tried freezing in them yet.

I will have to investigate this further and let you know if I find a good solution. Let me know if you try it!

Anonymous said...

Is Corningware still around? The designs used to be awful (holy 70's!), but it was quite practical, went from freezer to oven (in the pre-microwave days)-- great for soups, stocks, and casseroles. As for microwaves-- something else to look into: I understand the process of micro-waving does something to the nutrients!

Mary Beth said...

We've been doing the plastic clean-out as well. I noticed familiar breast pump parts in your picture!--but I think those are all of the better plastics. We've gone to glass food containers and Klean Kanteens for the most part. Still have a few stray pieces.

Anonymous said...

I am a mom of three little ones and I also just launched a line of 100% waste-free, eco-friendly lunch boxes. Since I am a very conscious mom in terms of toxins that I expose my kids to, I felt that it was extremely important to conduct extensive third party safety testing on my lunch boxes since they are being made out of plastic (#5 or polypropylene). My view of plastics is much more favorable now after launching my product and conducting the testing prior to launch. When testing product safety, a company can choose which toxins to test for. So I have my waste-free lunch boxes tested for BPA, phthalates, PVC, and lead. And they passed with flying colors. So there is a lot to be said for using plastics that has been testing by a third party. Most of America can not afford to provide their children with stainless steel lunch boxes so its good to know there are conscious business owners, like myself, who take all precautions to ensure safe plastics.