A new study released by the American Chemical Society is raising questions about endocrine disrupting chemicals leaching at low levels from baby teethers, saying, for example, that it found bisphenol-A migrating from all 59 teethers studied even though many claimed to be BPA-free or non-toxic.
In response, the American Chemistry Council said the study provides little useful information, saying that the “extremely low” levels measured are well below government safety standards, and it questioned whether the BPA could come from contamination rather than the teethers themselves. (http://factsaboutbpa.org/bpa-baby-teething-products-cause-concern)
“We are not aware of any use for BPA or materials made from BPA being used in teethers,” the Washington-based ACC said.
The Dec. 7 study, published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology said that while baby bottles and drinking cups have been studied, little research has been done specifically on teethers and endocrine disrupting chemicals.
“Very few if any studies have investigated whether the compounds are used to make teethers and if the compounds leach out of these products, which are designed to soothe babies' gums when their teeth come in,” the study said.
The study examined 59 solid, gel-filled or water-filled teethers purchased online in the United States, looking for 26 potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
The ACS study noted that it found that exposure to BPA and other regulated endocrine chemicals from the teethers would be lower than the European standards for a 1-year-old baby.
But it said that current government regulations don't look at the cumulative impacts of exposure to multiple endocrine chemicals, and it said that some chemicals measured in its study are not regulated.
“The researchers say the findings could be used to develop appropriate policies to protect infants from exposure to potentially toxic chemicals found in teethers,” according to ACS, which is based in Washington.
The ACC, on the other hand, questioned the study.
“This study provides very little useful information for the parents of young children, as it focuses on the mere presence of chemicals, which parents should be reassured does not equate with harm,” ACC said. “All the chemicals studied here are shown to be at extremely low exposure levels and well-below government set safe levels.”
It said the maximum level of BPA found in the study is 100 to 1,000 times below limits set by the European Food Safety Authority.
ACC said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently published the results of a large-scale government-funded study demonstrating that low-dose exposure to BPA did not result in adverse health effects.