Chemical-free Kids

Is anyone else getting quite unnerved by all the reports coming out about Phthalates? I can’t even pronounce the word, but apparently it’s a chemical used to soften plastic, and can be found in loads of household items, such as plastic furniture, shower curtains, and food packaging. But what’s really worrying is that doctors now believe it mimics the female hormone estrogen. A study carried out in New York monitored pregnant women who had high levels of phthalates in their urine. Those who went on to have boys reported that their sons preferred ‘feminine play’, and were less likely to indulge in traditional ‘male’ past times, such as cars and play fighting. It reminded me of a conversation I had the other week with Dirk Peereboom Voller, the managing director of Born Free UK (www.babybornfree.co.uk). He was telling me that their baby bottles and training cups were ‘BPA-free’. When I confessed I didn’t actually know what that meant, he explained that BPA stood for Bisphenol-A, which is another chemical used to make hard plastic, like those used for food and drink containers – and including some types of baby’s bottles. It’s now thought that small amounts of the BPA might actually leach into the contents, where it also replicates the effect of female hormones. Early studies have already linked BPA to a range of conditions, including early puberty. The research has yet to be completed, and the findings published, but I’ll be switching to BPA and Phthalate-free products anyway – just to be on the safe side.

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