Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Guide to Plastic Alternatives

We’ve all heard about the dangers of BPA and pthalates leaching into our foods. And if you haven’t, I encourage you to read the articles listed in the resources section at the bottom of this page. Especially these two: The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics and the Big Tobacco-style campaign to bury it and These popular plastic bottles may be messing with your hormones. Also, please check out the Environmental Working Group's Guide to BPA.

I first heard about BPA almost five years ago, when my sister was shopping for a BPA-free shower curtain because she was concerned about the chemical leaching into her sons bath water. The more research I did on the chemical, the more I tried to eliminate it from our lives. I immediately scrapped all of my old plastic tupperware and drinking cupseven my beloved Nalgeneand switched to BPA-free plastics. I tried my damnedest not to buy anything in a can, since most canned foods are lined with BPA. I stopped heating food in plastic containers in the microwave, since chemicals in plastic can leach into your food when heated. We also stopped using non-stick teflon pans as well, because when heated at high temperatures, teflon releases PFCs, chemicals that “may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms (called "Teflon Flu" or, as scientists describe it, "Polymer fume fever")," and switched to cast iron and stainless steel.

When we registered for our baby shower, we didn’t even consider glass bottles or dishwarewe figured the baby would be throwing things all over the place in just a few months so we asked for BPA-free plastic and melamine dishware (how could you not want those adorable, colorful Jonathan Adler Owl bowls at Buy Buy Baby?!). I don’t know why, but I never even considered what other types of chemicals might be leaching out of the plasticware, into our food, and then into usespecially our sweet baby boyuntil I stumbled upon an article discussing how some studies have shown that even BPA-free plastics leach potentially harmful estrogren-mimicking chemicals as well as other chemicals, such as pthalates, that can significantly lower testosterone levels.

I realize its almost impossible to live without plastics. And I am not writing this post to fear-monger you into throwing out your plastic. What I do want to do is make sure you are equipped with the information to help you make an informed decision. I’ve provided a list of resources that I’ve found helpful, but I encourage you to do your own research and make a decision that you feel is best for your family. As for me, over the past year I’ve been slowly ridding our house of unneeded plastic food storage, food prep, and utensils-even my lovely melamine mixing bowls- since this is where most exposure happens. I’ve replaced almost everything with glass, stainless steel, bamboo, or silicone. It's still a work in progress and yes, we still do occasionally use plastic food storage and utensils. But we're definitely more conscious about what we eat out of and when we can, we try to avoid it all together. Note: Silicone is considered an inert substance and a safe alternative to plastic. However, there is not a lot of scientific evidence that proves or disproves this.

If you’re ready to rid your kitchen of plasticrecycle those plastic cups, dishes, mixing bowls, colanders, measuring cups and spoons, water bottles, cutting boards and anything else you can think of and replace them with ceramic, china, glass, stainless steel, bamboo, or silicone. There are many affordable options at almost every store. It's all about your taste and budget.

For baby specific items, check out some of my recommendations below.

BOTTLES

I absolutely love the stainless steel bottles by Pura Kiki because they are multi-functional and all parts are completely plastic free. Only stainless steel and silicone here. As your baby grows, the bottle converts from a bottle to a sippy cup with the change of the nipple. The company is in the process of developing a straw attachment so you can get even more use out of the bottle, which will hopefully be out in 2015. If your baby doesn't like the Pura nipple, the system is compatible with Avent Sport Spout, ThinkBaby, Born Free, Dr. Brown's Wide Neck, MAM, Pigeon, and UPIS nipples. You can even use them as snack containers by popping on a silicone sealing disk!! Bottles come in 5 oz9 oz and 11 oz sizes and are also sold in sets. Silcone sleeves in short and tall can be purchased separately. I haven't been able to find the Pura Kiki brand in any stores near my home but Amazon has a great selection. You can also buy products directly from Pura's website. Visit Pura Kiki for information.

Thinkbaby is another innovative company with a stainless steel bottle option. Bottles come in 9oz and like the Pura bottles, convert into a sippy or straw cup. You can also purchase a neoprene sleeve made of limestone. You can also buy products directly from Thinkbaby's website. Visit Thinkbaby for more information.

Lifefactory has a similar system for glass bottles. Any standard size nipple is compatible with this bottle. Wide neck nipples are not. Each bottle comes with a silicone sleeve. Bottles and silicone parts are BPA/BPS-free and phtalate-free. The flat caps and straw caps contain plastic parts that are BPA and phtalate-free. Bottles are sold in 4 oz9 oz12 oz and 22 oz sizes as well as sets. The 22 oz bottles make great teen and adult water bottles as well. You can also buy products directly from Lifefactory's website.Visit Lifefactory or more information.

As I've stated previously, I loved the Avent Natural Bottle and just realized that they come in glass too! They are sold in 8 oz sizes and in sets.These bottles are really easy to assemble and for us, most mimicked the breast. They are also available Buy Buy Baby and Babies R' Us.



SIPPY & STRAW CUPS

The Pura Kiki and Lifefactory bottles discussed above grow with your child and adjust from bottles to sippy cups to straw cups to snack holders with the switch of the lid. But if your just looking for a plain ole' sippy or straw cup I suggest the Thermos Foogo series. Sippys and straw cups both com ein 10oz sizes.

If you are looking for a glass option but are wary, Green Sprouts makes a glass sip'n'straw cup that is encased in PVC- and BPA-free plastic. The sip'n'straw comes with a silicone spout, silicone sipper and a shock absorbent rubber base. The liquid never touches the plastic. They come in a 4 oz size and are also available at Buy Buy Baby.





SNACK CONTAINERS

Again, the Pura Kiki and Lifefactory bottles adjust into snack holders with a switch of the lid, but if your looking for something different, Thermos Foogo also makes a 10 oz snack holder..

ECOLunchboxKids KonserveLunchBots,and PlanetBox  all make stainless steel lunch containers for safe, easy, on-the-go eating.



UTENSILS

When it comes to utensils- spoons are spoons and forks are forks, right? There are a plethora of options each claiming to be the next amazing tool to help your kid eat. I don't believe there is a single utensil out there is going to help your kid become a great eaterhalf the time Weston just uses his hands. But when he does use utensils, we use the Oxo Tot Feeding Spoon. They're inexpensive and hold up to a toddler who loves to throw them and bang them on things. Other great silicone spoon options include Sweet Baby CarrotBoon Benders, and Gerber Graduates; all perfect for little hands learning how to eat with utensils.


Kiddobloom has a great stainless steel silverware set as does Oxo and Vital Baby. All are affordable and made for kids.


Miraclekoo makes the cutest bamboo set for kids! Bambu makes a simple, affordable fork and spoon combo and Urban Infant Kids makes a great travel set.



Spuni offers childrens spoons made from medical grade TPE (thermoplastic elastomers) and polypropylene or wood. All of their materials are phtalate, BPA, BPS, and PVC free. I'm not quite sure if this is a joke, but it looks like you could also purchase a customized Spuni for $12,000 in either gold, rose gold, or platinum. Uhhhh...yeah.

BOWLS AND PLATES

Like utensils, bowls are bowl and plates are plates. EcoLunchbox, Lunchbots, and Thinkbaby all have great, affordable feeding sets and trays.



Silicone options include bowls and trays from Kinderville, Green Sprouts, and Lexnfant make some great silicone containers for toddlers.


EcoBamboo has the cutest eating set and Bambu offers plain but beautiful bamboo bowls.



We use Anchor Hocking or Pyrex 1 and 2 cup glass bowls. You can usually find these at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Meijer, Walmart, or any other big box store. I like the Tru-seal lids, but haven't been able to find them anywhere but Amazon. We purchased a set of six 1-cup containers for Weston to use. We purchased about 8 of the 4-cup containers for general family food storagesoups, chili, leftovers, etc. In my opinion they are the perfect size for individual portions and they can be warmed up in the microwave (sans lid) with no worry.



I encourage you to do your research and choose the products that are best for your family. There are so many options out there!

Did you recently make the choice to rid your kitchen of plastic? Let us know what products you chose!Are there any products you absolutely love, but we neglected to get on our list? Let us know and we'll help spread the word.

RESOURCES

The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics and the Big Tobacco-style campaign to bury it

These Popular Plastic Bottles May be Messing with Your Hormones

Just How Harmful are BPAs?

Pots, Pans, and Plastics: A Shoppers Guide to Food Safety

BPA-free Plastic Risks

Melamine in Tableware: Q&A 

How Chemicals in Plastic Lower Testosterone

Common Chemicals May Lower Testosterone, Study Finds

Guide to Less Toxic Products

EWGs Guide to BPA


1 comment:

  1. Great options, I definitely need to look into some!

    ReplyDelete