Oct 2013 UPDATE: The resource described in this article, Z Recommends, has ceased operations. For information on what kids’ products do and don’t contain BPA, check out The Soft Landing’s Safer Product Shopping Guides.
Following my BPA post from 2 days ago, I got a Twitter message from Jennifer Taggart, the “Smart Mama” whose blog I recommended, asking me to also link to the ZRecs Guide for BPA-free info. And then I received a message from ZRecs themselves!
The ZRecs Guide is an intense compilation of research on chemicals in children’s products, focusing on BPA, Flame Retardants, Latex, Lead, Parabens, Phthalates, Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), & Triclosan. It’s a huge database of helpful information. And I especially appreciate that they include PVC — even phthalate-free PVC — because of the environmental hazards involved in its production.
Reading the ZRecs blog, I was surprised to learn that in addition to the types of products I listed in my BPA post a few days ago, a whole host of other products can contain BPA, including other types of plastic that are not hard and clear like polycarbonate bottles. For example, children’s dishes, tub toys, utensils. One company, Sassy, was found to be selling toys listed as BPA-free that turned out to actually contain BPA. And ZRecs was the first site to get to the bottom of the issue.
My first reaction is appreciation for all the hard work the Zrecs staff do. But my next thought was, “Why all this this hoopla to find a BPA-free plastic spoon? Who needs a plastic spoon in the first place? My siblings and I used metal spoons. Is all this plastic necessary?” And I still find myself thinking that instead of diligently searching for plastic products that don’t contain known toxins, we ought to be finding alternatives to plastic in the first place.
But I don’t have kids. And my opinion softened a bit when I read a discussion about finding a PVC and phthalate-free tub mat to keep a 14-month old from slipping in the bathtub. We don’t use a tub mat in our house because we are grown ups who have learned how to take showers without ending up on our heads. But what about a baby? It seems to me this is an appropriate use of plastic, especially for those who cannot use natural rubber due to latex allergies. It’s comparable to the plastic in my bicycle helmet that keeps my own skull safe.
So, there you go. If you haven’t already, check out the ZRecs Guide, ZRecommends blog, and The Tranquil Parent, which are all part of the ZRecs Home site. But remember that whether products are PVC- or phthalate- or BPA-free, Fake Plastic Fish encourages you to look for the entirely plastic-free option first.