Microplastics in Baby Bottles
If you are anything like me, you hadn’t even heard the word “microplastics” until a couple years ago. What is a microplastic? According to National Geographic, “Microplastics are tiny plastic particles that result from both commercial product development and the breakdown of larger plastics. As a pollutant, microplastics can be harmful to the environment and animal health.”
Most people have only heard about microplastics in regard to pollution or damage to wildlife. But, what about humans? More specifically, tiny little humans?
According to new research, bottle-fed babies are swallowing millions of microplastics per day! Scientists determined that the process of heating bottles for sanitizing and mixing formula were causing millions of microplastics to be shed from inside the plastic bottles. Although scientists already knew about the dangers of microplastics in food containers, water bottles, etc, no research had been done on infant bottles until now.
More research is needed to determine the exact health effects this may have on infants. Professor John Boland, at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, said that while most particles are excreted from our bodies, more studies and research is needed to determine how many particles may actually pass into the blood stream.
What is the solution?
The simplest solution is to use glass bottles. Glass bottles are heavier, clumsier, and may not be convenient for some occasions. Substituting one or two glass bottles a day would still be helpful in drastically reducing microplastic consumption.
If glass bottles are too difficult, another solution is adding some steps to formula preparation and bottle cleaning. During formula preparation, mix the formula and hot water in a separate non-plastic container before pouring into the plastic bottle. After sterilizing the bottles, use sterile water (once it has cooled down) to rinse out the bottles to help take away microplastics that may have been shed during the sterilization process.
We found a couple videos on YouTube to help demonstrate this with better detail.
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Jeri Ford, RN, BSN, CPN