The BIG Plastic Meltdown

by The Green Divas

I swear my little Benjamin has been teething since he was born. We call him ‘Ben the Beaver’ because he just gnaws on everything he gets his hands on. So my dilemma for the past 10 months has been finding safe stuff for him to chew on.

The process of researching this has become pretty overwhelming, but I’ll try and share some of what I’ve found.

The Chemicals

Some chemicals are used in the manufacture of plastics including baby products. The concern: that they can leach when touched or chewed on and have a toxic effect on the human body.

PhthalatePhthalates, or Phthalate Esters, are a group of chemical compounds that are mainly used as plasticizers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility). They are chiefly used to turn polyvinyl chloride from a hard plastic into a flexible plastic.

Bisphenol-A - Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high production volume chemical used in the production of polycarbonate plastic and several types of resins.

Lead – well you should know about that one.

August 2007 – the National Institutes of Health concluded that there is ‘some concern’ that bisphenol A or BPA could have neural and behavioral effects on fetuses and young children. Not good.

November 2007 – Terry Gross of NPRs Fresh Air interviewed March Shapiro , editorial director of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting and author of Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007). In the book he explains that toxic chemicals exist in many of the products we handle every day – including toys. Apparently, the US does not require businesses to minimize them or even list them so that consumers can evaluate the risks – unlike the European Union. More than not good.

Listen to the interview.

the book Exposed

Resources for Information & Action

The Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep – an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products. The database provides safety ratings for over 27,000 products with 7,000 ingredients.

Sign their petition to Congress demanding product safety testing.

Resources for Safe Products

The Soft Landing – a wonderful website and blog devoted to providing information to parents about safe plastics, etc. and resource for purchasing safe teethers, pacifiers, bottles, sippy cups and other feeding utensils.


A line-up of safe sippy cups from The Soft Landing.

EcoPiggy – an online store also devoted to selling only safe items for your little one including organic cotton clothing but also where I found my EcoBinky for Benjamin.

Zrecs Blog – A blog, not necessarily devoted to baby issues, but happens to have a wonderful report on BPA in infant care products. Check it out:

The Green Divas are living, always learning, and loving the practical sustainable lifestyle with their families. They share their experiences and relevant resources through their website,, and their blog,



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