Harmful plastics and your baby

Plastic is a man-made substance that’s used in lots everyday products, like bottles, toys and furniture. Plastic is made from chemicals. Two chemicals sometimes used in plastics are bisphenol A (also called BPA) and phthalates. 

BPA makes plastic clear and strong. It’s sometimes used in baby bottles, water bottles and metal cans. Phthalates make plastic soft and flexible. They’re used in medical equipment (such as tubing), shampoo, make-up and food packaging. 

Can PBA and phthalates harm your baby?

Some research shows that coming in contact with BPA and phthalates before birth, as a baby or early in childhood may cause problems with your brain development and behavior, and with the prostate gland (if your baby’s a boy). Because of this research, some phthalates are no longer used in toys and other children’s products. While there isn’t a ban on BPA, many products are now BPA-free. We need more research to know for sure if chemicals in plastics can harm your baby during pregnancy.

How can you limit your baby’s contact with harmful plastics?

Here’s what you can do: 

  • Breastfeed your baby so you don’t have to use so many bottles. To feed your baby pumped breastmilk, use baby bottles make of glass, polypropylene or polyethylene.
  • Don’t microwave food for your baby in plastic containers or put plastics in the dishwasher.
  • Give your baby toys made of fabric or unpainted wood. If you do get a plastic toy, make sure it’s labeled BPA- or phthalate-free, or that it was made after February 2009.
  • Don’t use plastic containers with the numbers 3 or 7 or the letters PC on the bottom. Plastics with the numbers 1, 2 and 4 are safe to use. 
  • Don’t use shampoo, lotion or powders on your baby that contain phthalates. Check the product label to make sure it’s phthalate-free.

See also: Harmful plastics and pregnancy



Last reviewed: September, 2014

Plastic is a man-made substance that’s used in lots everyday products, like bottles, toys and furniture. Plastic is made from chemicals. Two chemicals sometimes used in plastics are bisphenol A (also called BPA) and phthalates. 

BPA makes plastic clear and strong. It’s sometimes used in baby bottles, water bottles and metal cans. Phthalates make plastic soft and flexible. They’re used in medical equipment (such as tubing), shampoo, make-up and food packaging. 

Can PBA and phthalates harm your baby?

Some research shows that coming in contact with BPA and phthalates before birth, as a baby or early in childhood may cause problems with your brain development and behavior, and with the prostate gland (if your baby’s a boy). Because of this research, some phthalates are no longer used in toys and other children’s products. While there isn’t a ban on BPA, many products are now BPA-free. We need more research to know for sure if chemicals in plastics can harm your baby during pregnancy.

How can you limit your baby’s contact with harmful plastics?

Here’s what you can do: 

  • Breastfeed your baby so you don’t have to use so many bottles. To feed your baby pumped breastmilk, use baby bottles make of glass, polypropylene or polyethylene.
  • Don’t microwave food for your baby in plastic containers or put plastics in the dishwasher.
  • Give your baby toys made of fabric or unpainted wood. If you do get a plastic toy, make sure it’s labeled BPA- or phthalate-free, or that it was made after February 2009.
  • Don’t use plastic containers with the numbers 3 or 7 or the letters PC on the bottom. Plastics with the numbers 1, 2 and 4 are safe to use. 
  • Don’t use shampoo, lotion or powders on your baby that contain phthalates. Check the product label to make sure it’s phthalate-free.

See also: Harmful plastics and pregnancy



Last reviewed: September, 2014