Are our plastics safe? Toy Recall Leaves Parents In State of Anxiety

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Recent toxic toy recalls and alleged formaldehyde levels in clothing have left parents worldwide in a state in anxiety – uncertain which brands they can really trust.

In the US, recent reports on the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) have given rise to a new cause for anxiety.

Thirty-eight Independent Specialists in BPA toxicity from around the world issued a consensus statement on 2nd August, 2007 ( saying that BPA present a clear risk to human health, including as a potential carcinogen and in abnormal sexual development.

The chemical BPA has been around since the 1950s and is a common ingredient in plastics, including the polycarbonate used in baby bottles, toddler sipper cups and the resin lining of infant formula tins (

Sarah Barnett in her article for the NZ Listener: “Toxic Inheritance” – May 5, 2007, said that if a plastic container carries the recycling numbers 1,2,4 or 5 it won’t contain BPA or phthalates (another known endrocine disrupting chemical). BPA is found in plastics labeled 7 and phthalates are found in plastics labelled 3.

Phthalates are also found in Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) which carries the recycling number 1. PET bottles have become the plastic packaging of choice for many food products, particularly beverages like bottled water and carbonated soft drinks.

All sides agree that BPA and phthalates are known to leech out of plastic into food and liquids they are in contact with.

There are conflicting opinions as to what level is safe.

In the US, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) which regulates many plastic products, says it will take a close look at the new reports but so far agrees that polycarbonate appears to be safe.

The FDA have also found that the migration of any components of PET plastics under laboratory conditions is well below applicable safety levels. (

Every parent should be concerned – this information affects almost every parent in NZ – except those with a totally breastfed child who has never drunk out of anything except glass.

For more information, visit the web site of The Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment).

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