Toxic Baby Bottles

Scientific Study Finds Leaching Chemicals In Clear Plastic Baby Bottles

Products marketed for infants and children are not always completely safe for their use. Many contain toxic chemicals that may have detrimental health impacts for children exposed during critical stages of development. In this report, we analyze the extent to which five popular brands of baby bottles leach bisphenol A, a developmental, neural, and reproductive toxicant, into liquids coming into contact with them.  We found that all five brands leach bisphenol A at dangerous levels found to cause harm in numerous laboratory animal studies. California and the U.S. should reform chemical policy to ensure that all products on the market are safe for children.



Environment California Research and Policy Center

Bisphenol A is a Developmental, Neural, and Reproductive Toxicant

  • Scientists have linked very low doses of bisphenol A exposure to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity, among other problems.
  • For example, in one recent study, a single, low dose of bisphenol A administered to a newborn rat resulted in hyperactive behavior.

 Exposure to Bisphenol A is Widespread

  • Bisphenol A is most commonly used to make clear polycarbonate plastic for consumer products, such as baby bottles. Through use, this plastic breaks down and leaches bisphenol A into liquids and food to which it comes into contact.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found bisphenol A in the urine of over 95% of people they tested.
  • Alarmingly, the median level of bisphenol A in humans is higher than the level that causes adverse effects in animal studies.

Popular Baby Bottles Sold in California Leach Bisphenol A at Harmful Levels

  • Based on a consumer survey of the most popular baby bottle brands on the market, we selected five bottle types to determine the amount of leaching from each bottle. We found that the bottles tested from all five brands leached bisphenol A at levels found to cause harm in numerous laboratory studies, including:

• Avent

• Dr. Brown’s

• Evenflo

• Gerber

• Playtex

Recommendations for Parents

Parents have the right to know about chemicals in the products they purchase for their children. In the absence of good government regulations, but armed with the knowledge that some chemicals are a cause for concern, parents can take a few simple actions to limit their child’s exposure to these and other toxic chemicals.

At the store, parents should select baby bottles that are made from glass or a safer non-polycarbonate plastic. At home, parents should avoid washing plastic dishware with harsh dishwashing soap and hot water, which may allow chemicals to leach out of the plastic. For a useful tip sheet, parents should visit our toy safety page.

Recommendations for Policymakers

Parents cannot deal with these issues alone. The government must ensure the safety of all products on the market for children. California and the U.S. should:

Phase Out Hazardous Chemicals

Based on the weight of the scientific evidence showing the harm caused by exposure to bisphenol A, the government should act now. Given that data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that bisphenol A is present in humans at levels found to be harmful in laboratory studies, California and the U.S. should phase out the use of bisphenol A, especially in products used by children.

Inform Consumers about the Presence of Dangerous Chemicals

Parents currently have little information to inform their decisions when purchasing products for their family. Manufacturers should be required to label children’s products with the name of any potentially dangerous chemical and the specific health risks associated with the chemical.

Reform Chemicals Policy

Currently, manufacturers can put chemicals on the market without proving they are safe. Chemical manufacturers should be required to provide all hazard and health-effects information to the government so agencies can begin to assess the thousands of chemicals currently on the market for which little or inadequate data are available. Next, pre-market hazard and health-effects testing should be required for all new chemicals before they are introduced into commerce. Finally, the California Environmental Protection Agency must have the authority to protect public health by banning or restricting the use of a chemical if evidence shows that it can harm human health.