Baby teether chemicals could be harmful to infants, suggests a new study that found low levels of BPA in products designed to soothe infant gums as teeth come in, usually between three and seven months of age.
Teethers labeled “non-toxic” or “BPA-free” are usually a must buy for parents, but the new study – published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal – found that teethers could contain potentially harmful chemicals, according to CBS News.
U.S. regulators have banned “the use of the plastics chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA), parabens and antimicrobials” found in some baby products, including bottles and cups. These plastics can cause changes in a baby’s hormones, which could ultimately lead to health problems.
BPA has also been linked to “obesity, cancer and childhood anxiety and hyperactivity,” which prompted the introduction of two new chemicals, BPS and BPF, that experts believed would be better alternatives, Fox News noted.
Despite their belief, these chemicals didn’t pan out to be the right replacements for BPA.
“These alternatives [to BPA] are equally toxic, or in some cases, more toxic,” said Kannan Kurunthachalam, the author of the study and a research scientist at New York State Department of Health and the School of Public Health at the State University of New York at Albany, per Fox News.
Kannan told CBS News that he and his colleagues tested 59 teethers for 26 potential problematic chemicals, or “endocrine-disrupting chemicals,” which are known to throw off the body’s hormonal balance.
“We wanted to look at chemicals in baby teethers as one of the sources of exposure because now they come in different forms,” Kannan said. “The gel and water-filled teethers have some preservatives in them such as paraben, which can affect the endocrine system.”
“Early life stage exposure is serious,” Kannan said. “Exposure to toxic chemicals during infancy can have detrimental affects and alter stages in life. That’s the theory that’s out there.”
Kannan said he hopes the new findings will lead to stricter guidelines to protect babies from exposure to toxic chemicals not just teethers, but in all baby products.
“As a consumer myself with babies, I would love to buy products that are considered safe, without toxic chemicals.”
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