Should Nannies and Au Pairs Throw Out Plastic Baby Bottles?

FDA Issues Warning About BPA Exposure

It is all over the media that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Americans should avoid plastics with the chemical bisphenol A (BPA). The Canadian government is banning all baby bottles made with BPA. Wal-Mart and other stores are starting to pull BPA bottles off their shelves.

The FDA, National Toxicology Program (NTP), and the
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), explain BPA can leech into the milk, juice, or water in bottles. BPA may lead to health effects, including behavioral problems, diabetes, reproductive disorders, cancer, asthma, heart disease, and effects that can go from one generation to the next.

As a nanny or au pair you must show your employer’s this article (and google the term BPA and you will find plenty of articles about the new FDA recommendations).

You can keep plastic dishware that is cloudy or soft. BPA is used in polycarbonate plastics to make them hard and clear. Cloudy and soft plastics are BPA-free and safe to use as bottles and dishware.

BPA is found in baby bottles, dishes, and water bottles. Follow the guidelines below from the FDA, NTP, and NIEHS. Then, clear the cabinets of plastic dishware and bottles containing BPA.

1. Look on the bottom of the plastic dish or bottles. Do not use plastic containers with a number 3 or 7 or the letters PC on package? Plastic containers with the number 3 or 7 or the letters PC are plastics containing BPA. There should be a triangle formed with arrows which contains a number. This number is a code for recycling purposes that tells you what sort of plastic is in the item.

2. Breastfeed infants for at least 12-months. If breastfeeding is impractical, iron-fortified formula should be used regardless of whether it comes in cans lined with BPA-containing plastic.

3. Discard scratched baby bottles or scratched sippy cups.

4. Don’t put boiling water in BPA-containing plastic bottles. Mix powdered formula with water boiled in a BPA-free container and cooled to lukewarm.

5. Warm ready-to-feed liquid formula by running warm water over the outside of the bottle. Do not heat any kind of baby bottle in the microwave.

6. Make sure plastic bottles and containers are labeled “microwave safe” or dishwasher safe” before putting them in the appropriate appliance.

7. Discard all plastic food containers with scratches.

8. Avoid canned foods such as soups and tomato-based pastas, which had the highest levels of BPA. Canned infant formula has over 200 times the recommended safety levels of BPA. But, as mentioned in #2 the FDA recommends if breastfeeding is impractical, iron-fortified formula should be used regardless of whether it comes in cans lined with BPA-containing plastic

9. Some plastic wraps contain BPA. Check the labels for “BPA-free” wraps.

Click here to see the FDA statement on BPA.

FDA/Health and Human Services news conference, Jan. 15, 2010, with William Corr, deputy secretary, Department of Health and Human Services; Margaret Hamburg, MD, commissioner, FDA; Linda Birnbaum, PhD, director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health; and Robin Ikeda, acting deputy director for non-communicable disease, Environmental Health and Injury Prevention, CDC. News release, American Chemistry Council. FDA news release and fact sheet. Department of Health and Human Services news release and fact sheet.

MONDAY: Which baby bottles are safe and BPA-free?

Have you thrown out plastic containers and bottles containing BPA? Why or why not?


  1. My mom boss waited one day before agreeing to throw out everything with BPA in the house.Problem I am having is there is BPA in canned foods too. Even tuna and soup. And when you buy something packaged in a wrapper you can't always see the number on the plastic or can to see if BPA free. FDA American gov needs to do what Canada is doing and not allow BPA to be manufactured anymore. Otherwise we will keep having BPA in everything.

  2. Absolutely we threw out everything with BPA in it. Manufacturers write BPA-free on the bottle if it is BPA-free. Dump them all. Why risk it. And I agree with Fiona above government should ban it now.Professional Nanny AprilGreenwich CT

  3. Thankfully the bottles I have come in contact with have all been BPA free.I now care for a 9 month old who uses Dr. Brown's bottles. We do put the bottles and set ups, nipples in a special container in the top rack of the dishwasher, as well as his spoons and bowls- but take them out before the dishwasher starts the "heating/drying cycle" and then we rinse them all by hand and let them air dry.~Andrea- Professional Career Nanny,Northern, NJ

  4. Yes our great nanny made us aware of this. We just haven't been watching the news. She did the research and we are thankful for it. We are expecting a newborn in the Spring and thrilled our nanny showed us the warnings and articles.Just throw it out.

  5. Great advice about not heat drying plastics Andrea.What about microwaving? I am so confused.BPA is in canned foods too! The tuna I ate yesterday had # 7 on bottom of plastic container. Most confusing is FDA says 200 time too much in canned baby formula but to still use that baby formula?!So, what does everyone doing? Throwing stuff out before asking parents?

  6. The baby bottles we use don't say 3 or 7 on them but websites say they are NOT BPA free. My bosses heard you can use them if you don't heat them, they don't have cracks, or use acidic juices in them, or taste the plastic. My bosses have not thrown out the baby bottles and they do have BPA! They only have milk in them, but we have to heat the bottles. Should I insist we change bottles now that baby is used to them?I feel strongly we should throw them out but my bosses are not saying that.

  7. 1) Michelle, I feel you should stand your ground. Canada is taking all BPA products off the shelves! The clinical study shows it's dangerous, don't give up, keep on the parents about the dangers of BPA. As a childcare provider you must not stop pressuring the parents to change bottles!2) If in doubt throw it out! If it doesn't say BPA free it probably isn't. Manufacturers want you to know they are BPA free and mark it clearly on their products.3) Andrea great advice about not drying the platic ware but why not throw it out and use metal?4) RE question about microwaving plasics, don't do it. Replace with ceramic microwave safe dishes.Nanny Lorraine, Chicago IL

  8. Just found this in Washington Post:"The six largest manufacturers of baby bottles will stop selling bottles in the United States made with bisphenol A, a controversial chemical widely used in plastics but increasingly linked to a range of health effects. The manufacturers declared their intentions after Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, joined by the attorneys general in Connecticut and New Jersey, wrote to the bottle makers and asked them to voluntarily stop using the chemical. "The evidence seems too clear and emphatic and unequivocal to say we should simply permit this stuff to go into children on a massive scale," Blumenthal said yesterday. "And there's no reason for it, because there are substitutes available."THROW OUT THE BABY BOTTLES WITH BPA!Concerned Nanny Sandi

  9. It baffles me why my mom boss won't let the kids wear acrylic but wants to wait to hear more about BPA before throwing out dishes and water bottles with BPA in them. I am scared to use those dishes, but god forbid I were to put the kids in acrylic or polyester clothing!

  10. Ok, calm down! I think you are over reacting. BUT, with good cause. The whole BPA thing is a huge scare at the moment but in my opinion is BS. If it were SUCH a big thing, then everything would be recalled. BPA is in all plastics and has been for centuries. I have 3 children and my oldest is 14 years old and he drank out of bottles and sippy cups and ate food with a number 7 on them. talk to your pediatrician. America is being paranoid. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE!

  11. I do not agree with last comments. BPA around for centuries?? BPA hasn't always been around. My parents fed me from glass baby food jars, and glass feeding bottles.There definitely are good reasons to be concerned about babies ingesting BPA. There are several interesting studies that have been published looking at the effects in animals. And I would definitely think that to limit exposure as much as possible is a good idea.I wouldn't completely overreact though, but it is a good idea to limit exposure when you can. The safest route to take is to use glass containers (which are inert). I myself even worry about the drop in bags because of the plastic softeners (I will admit I could be overly cautious here though). I would double check the literature but from what I remember reading BPA is most likely to leech out when the container is heated, or in contact with acids (like when it's used in the lining of cans of tomatoes for example) so I wouldn't worry about things like your plastic ware. I hope this helps. People will always say others are overreacting that everything is toxic, but things are also quite different then they were 20 years ago and the cancer rates are rising even though we have improved preventative care so you have to wonder what we're exposing ourselves to. Asthma rates are increasing as is early puberty in girls and BPA is similar to estrogen.Dr Martha Pediatrician and hire great a nanny

  12. We threw out all the water bottles. Boss dragging feet about baby bottles though??? Houston TX

  13. Plastic bottles only came on the scene in the 1980's. I think it is easy to revert back to glass or just bpa free bottles. Just do it.Mary near Boston

  14. My boss did some research of pba and found that its in all can goods, even premade baby formula so we stopped using it, went to powder. Its in soda cans, all food that is canned. Marni

  15. My boss insists we keep using the Avent bottles… (with sippy cup lids). Even if MB is right and they are blowing the risks out of proportion…still WHY take a risk that you don't have to?

  16. Thanks for bringing this important topic to our attention. We threw it all out. We can do all we can do to limit exposure, next the government has to enforce regulations. Canada has the right idea I think. No doubt more health issues and cancers since plastics were developed. For those nannies whose employers aren't convinced, I think the nannies she keep the topic current with the parents. We are advocates for the chidren. The parents just have to give up some of their favorite bottles or dishes and buy some new ones.Personally, I don't mind going back to glass baby bottles after all I have heard about BPA this week.

  17. If you're worried about recycled paper cups at Starbucks take your own mug with you to the coffee shop. It's also usually cheaper.Avoid canned goods. Buy fresh, bagged, boxed, or frozen foods. BPA mimics estrogen. It's especially important for women to avoid BPA during pregnancy.

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