12/04/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

BPA: Can This Chemical Hurt Your Family?

This week, an esteemed panel of scientists released a report countering the F.D.A.'s assessment of the safety of Bisphenol A (BPA), and stated that the study was flawed. I'm not sure about you, but I am once again feeling let down by the governmental bodies that are supposedly controlling the safety of chemicals in the products that my family is exposed to everyday. Among the many problems with the F.D.A's study, the panel of scientists found that the F.D.A. failed to look at the cumulative exposures of BPA and reported that the margins of safety as defined by the F.D.A as "adequate" were, in fact, inadequate.

Just last April, Canada banned the use of BPA in baby bottles. So why is our government still allowing BPA to be used? Let me suggest that our government adopt the "Precautionary Principle". This is not something that I made up. Back in 1998, the Science and Environmental Health Network convened a summit of doctors, scientists, and officials to decide what to do when there was uncertainty or disagreement in the scientific community about the safety of some new product or development. When done debating, they adopted the principle, and here it is:

When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.

Makes sense, right? In fact, in 2000, the European Commission--the governing body for all the nations of the European Union--adopted this principle. Our own government has not. So until our government adopts this principle, I suggest that you do.

Here are a few tips to avoid BPA.
• Avoid polycarbonate plastic baby bottles (they're the ones with a 7 inside the recycling triangle on the bottom and are about 95 percent of the market)
• If you insist on using plastic, use polyethylene or polypropylene (1,2,4, or 5 on the bottom). They are yet to be implicated in the BPA leaching problem.
• My preference is to simply use tried and true glass baby bottles.
• As for baby formula, powdered formula carries a lower BPA risk than liquid.
• And for us adults, again, please STOP using bottled water. Buy a water pitcher and use a stainless steel water bottle.

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