Toxic Baby Bottles?

Baby bottle isolated on white

I was nursing O this morning when this horrifying story came on the news. A University of Missouri study was conducted and revealed that the chemical bisphenol A leached into liquids from five popular baby bottle brands—Avent, Dr. Browns, Evenflo, Gerber and Playtex. All the baby bottles brands I’ve ever known anyone to use. Experts will meet next week to try to determine if this chemical is dangerous, but it’s been linked to “developmental, neural and reproductive harm when ingested.” Holy toxic baby bottles, Batman!

What the CRAP?! How does something like this happen? How do could we, as an industrial society, put babies in danger like this? Then I have questions about the study and story itself, such as:

  1. Why do they release this story, without giving us further information on whether the chemical IS actually dangerous? They have to know moms are going to worry.
  2. Are they sure the U of M study is conclusive (i.e., it won’t be like the Car Seat Study put out earlier this year)?
  3. Did they test ALL the bottles out there, and these were the only ones that leaked? Or did they test other brands and they were OK? Because it does me no good to throw out my Dr. Brown’s bottles (which I was contemplating anyway, because while they are good bottles, they have so many damn parts to clean) only to find out all bottles have the leach problem.

It’s just so frustrating. You do everything you can for your child, you want the best for your child, then something like this comes along and rocks your world. Combine the bottle story with another story I saw this morning on dismal child care rankings and you get one lousy morning for baby news.


As a result of findings from the Missouri study and others, many manufacturers of bottles for babies and children started voluntarily making the switch to BPA-free plastics. In 2012, the FDA banned the use of bisphenol A in the manufacture of baby bottles and sippy cups.

Unfortunately, recent tests on 50 reusable bottles and containers labeled “BPA-free” found that while BPA was no longer a problem, the majority of these products released other endocrine-disrupting compounds in its place.

So what’s a parent to do? You can start by avoiding PVC, phthalates, and BPA (most manufacturers will note this on the label), advises Healthy Child, Healthy World (part of the Environmental Working Group). PVC is the worst plastic for the environment, loaded with toxic chemicals including lead and phthalates, which make vinyl soft.

Glass and metal baby bottles

Instead of plastics, go for glass or uncoated metal, preferably stainless steel, especially where infants and children are concerned. Here are a few options of glass baby bottles and stainless steel baby bottles to consider:

Are plastic bottles safe for infants? What about glass or stainless steel? Read these tips for choosing the safest bottle for your baby.

13 thoughts on “Toxic Baby Bottles?

  1. Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) says:

    THAT IS TERRIBLE!!!!! Good grief!!!

  2. Jeez… that’s crazy. Hopefully they’ll release more information soon!

  3. One more thing to add to my worry list. Awesome.

  4. Thanks so much for bringing this to everyone’s attention.

    There have been lots of reports lately about harmful polycarbonates in baby bottles. There is good and bad news related to these reports. As a co-owner of a baby bottle company that is about to release a 100% polycarbonate-free bottle, I’d be happy to agree that polycarbonates are the devil (and of course, they certainly ain’t good). However, I used those polycarbonate bottles with my own kids, and so I’m able to look at this issue without hoping the “old” bottles are found to cause great concern. Here’s what I know:

    The Bad News…
    is pretty obvious. Yes, most baby bottles and lots of baby products contain these chemicals and may leach them into milk, etc. over time. Certainly this is reason enough to avoid them going into the feeding process if you are about to choose a bottle for your baby. Now you know and can choose intelligently.

    The Good News
    First, there are “safe” bottles out there, and an amazing one that is 100% Polycarbonate-free that is about to be introduced by Adiri (see it at in June.

    Second, many cities are doing their part to ban harmful chemicals in baby products. San Francisco is leading the way.

    Third, there isn’t a dire need to fret and feel guilt over what you’ve “already done” to your baby by using these bottles. Yes, it is a smarter choice to buy polycarbonate-free bottles now that you know, but the verdict is still out on whether using a polycarbonate bottle has done or could do any significant damage your baby.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Now you know why I only get my news from NPR, the Daily Show and the Onion. 🙂 Seriously, I HATE the fact that the news is always reporting sensational stories like “this could kill you!” without all the facts. And they hardly ever do a follow up story. Drives me nuts. If it’s a real concern, cool, get all the facts and inform the public. But I wish they’d stop perpetuating the culture of fear that we have just to drive their ratings.

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