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How can I minimize my family’s exposure to plastic?

Here are some recommendations for minimizing your family’s exposure to plastic:

  • Limit the use of plastic food containers for serving or storing food as much as you can. Use glass, paper, and ceramic containers—especially for microwaving foods.
  • Never heat a plastic baby bottle in the microwave. And avoid heating food in any plastic container, even if it’s marked “microwave safe.” Studies have found that heating plastic containers increases the amount of BPA (and other chemicals) that leaches into food.
  • Memorize “5-4-1-2, all the rest are bad for you.” It’s a great little mnemonic helper. If you turn plastic bottles and food containers over, you’ll usually find numbers on the bottom that indicate the type of plastic they’re made from. Plastic containers marked with 5, 4, 1, or 2 contain little or no BPA. Toss anything with any number other than the four digits in the sing-songy rhyme above.
  • Go soft. If you can’t locate a number on the bottom of the container, opt for softer, pliable containers. BPA is mostly found in rigid, shatterproof, reusable polycarbonate plastic—the kind used in some CD cases, baby bottles, water bottles, and other hard plastic containers. Softer plastic containers usually contain less of the chemical.
  • Cut down on cans. Opt for more fresh and frozen foods and fewer canned foods. BPA is used in the plastic lining of many canned foods and beverages, including soup. It’s also used in soda cans, which is one more reason to go sparingly on soda. Paper liquid containers are a better choice.
  • Use BPA-free pacifiers and baby bottles. More and more of both are on the market.
  • Relax. When it comes to your baby or toddler, there are more important worries than hard plastics leaching microscopic amounts of chemicals into food. Think about obesity, accidents, swallowing toy parts, and flushing insurance documents down the toilet, for starters. Follow my tips, but don’t forget to focus on the big picture.

From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

    The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.