Get to know your plastics! When you become a mummy for the first time you are filled with love, delight, joy, amazement and that sense of a true connection, an ultimate bond and those primal like instincts kick in. You are surviving through sleep deprivation, through worry, through sheer exhaustion, as your milk comes in, hubby returns to work and you are left with this tiny little human to look after, to protect and to nourish.
We wanted to share a little bit about what we’ve learned along the way, with some reasoning for choosing natural alternatives. Sometimes it just feels good to be in the know, so you can be sure the decisions you’re making are the right ones. So here we go… cuppa tea in hand lovely, get ready for it… here’s our Plastics 101!!
The lowdown on plastics
Plastic seems like the perfect material for toys, dummies, plates, bottles… you name it! However, being manmade, plastics contain a whole range of chemicals. Fortunately, you can determine which is the (main) chemical used by the resin labelling on the item. Here’s the main culprits to look out for… PVC, Phthalates, and BPA:
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride).
Unfortunately, these can be pretty commonly found in plastic toys (labelled with PVC, V, or #3). PVC has been linked to asthma, allergies and reproductive problems. During the manufacture and recycling of PVC plastics, dioxin is created. They are highly toxic chemicals which can harm human neurological, reproductive, developmental, and hormonal systems. They can be found in the environment, our food, and even in breastmilk.
Phthalates are used to make plastics more flexible and are often found in products such as teethers, adhesives, perfumes, and even mossie repellents. They are linked to several health issues including cancer, endocrine disruption, development delays, and reproductive system damage.
BPA (Bisphenol A).
Even with much hype about BPA free products, this one is still around (as are other Bisphenols). If anything is labelled with #7, then BPA has been used to manufacture it. Most commonly used to create rigid, hard plastics be sure to check baby bottles, toys and pacifiers. As an endocrine disrupter, BPA mimics the body’s hormones and can cause harmful developmental effects in babies and children. It’s been linked to attention disorders, such as ADHD, cancer cell growth, obesity, nervous system problems, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and early onset puberty. It is persistent in the environment too.
Get to know your plastics! So how do you avoid all these pretty nasty sounding nasties?!
- You can stay clear of PVC. Easily done by only buying those plastic toys labelled as PVC free, or checking that there is no #3 on the item.
- You can avoid BPA. Just steer clear of anything made from #7 plastic (especially if they are going anywhere near bub’s mouth!)
- Check plastics to be sure they are labelled as phthalate free.
- Look for the numbers 1, 2, or 4 on plastic toys. These numbers mean the plastic is made from polyethylene. This is a BPA, PVC and phthalate free plastic.
- Go recycled where you can. This helps to minimise landfill waste, reduces toxins in our environment and preserves our natural resources. Winner all round!
Phew, that’s a wrap! If you’d prefer to ditch the plastic (and the batteries!!) all together, there are a whole heap of other options that are not only safe, but bring a world of benefits to bub too… more on that another day! Getting wise on your plastics is only the beginning of the low-tox journey mama…