Did you know that a recent study discovered that babies swallow millions of microplastics each year?
Dr. Kurunthachalam Kannan of New York University and his research team examined human exposure to two types of microplastics - polyethylene terephthalate (PET), found in food packaging and clothing, and polycarbonate (PC), found in toys and bottles.
The pilot study discovered 36,000 nanograms of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) per gram of feces, ten times the amount found in adult feces.
It's obvious when you think about it that babies will have greater exposure to PET. There are a number of ways in which babies may be ingesting microplastics besides drinking from plastic bottles. Babies put everything in their mouths—plastic toys of all kinds, but they’ll also chew on fabrics. They drink from plastic sippy cups and eat off plastic plates. Carpets are often made of polyester and hardwood floors are coated in polymers that shed microplastics. All of this could lead to tiny particles being inhaled or swallowed by children.
Chemicals to avoid
During a baby's development stage, their brain, lungs, and nervous system are vulnerable to toxins. The list of toxic substances is endless, from food to detergents to toys. However, if you shop mindfully and attempt to avoid the dirty dozen endocrine disruptors (as defined by the Environmental Working Group), you can reduce your and your family’s exposure to toxins.
When we recommend eco-friendly baby products, we make sure they don’t contain these toxic chemicals:
- flame retardants
- harmful phthalates
- BPA + BPS (bisphenols)
- lead + other heavy metals
- synthetic fragrance
How to reduce the amount of plastic brought into your home
It’s not realistic to say that you should get rid of plastic items all at once. You can begin the transition to moving towards eco-friendly materials over time.
1. Bottle it up
There are many plastic free bottles on the market but we believe Pura Stainless Steel Bottles are the perfect reusable bottles for the whole family. These bottles are designed to grow with your child from a baby bottle to a sippy cup, sports bottle or snack pot.
2. Choose sustainable Tableware, Cutlery, Cups
MyChupi are the perfect smart alternative to plastic . They offer an eco range from silicone cups, bowls, straws and travel snack containers. All MyChupi baby products are BPA free, durable and made from 100% silicone - with clever technology MyChupi has created a range that is dishwasher and microwave safe, whilst also saving the oceans from discarded plastic.
3. Eco Teethers
There are so many options available: silicone, natural rubber, wood all of which are good plastic free alternatives.
Make sure you choose a durable teething toy for your baby. If it's going to be damaged by lots of chewing action, it's probably not the best option.
Choose a teething toy that will be attractive to your little one. You know what your baby likes, whether it's classic wood, or soft fabric. Select accordingly.
Choose a teething toy that's easy to clean. Teething toys that can be placed in the dishwasher or washing machine are ideal.
Regularly check for wear and tear. Always replace your baby's teething toys right away if they get torn, damaged, or if they're made from a rubber material and begin to feel sticky.
Sophie la Giraffe gets our vote. This popular teether includes multiple parts to soothe a teething baby exactly as they need it.
Built with 100% soft natural rubber. Free of BPA, phthalates, latex, and lead. Ears, horns, and legs are chewable for teething babies. Soft and easy to grip.
4. Wooden toys
Choosing the perfect toy for our children can be overwhelming with so many options available. Toys should ideally be safe, affordable, and durable, as well as helping develop mental and motor skills. Although plastic toys are plentiful and easy to obtain, wooden toys often go unnoticed. Their benefits are numerous and easily compare to the bright, interactive plastic toys available today. Small foot wooden toys are a particular favourite of mine.
5. 100% cotton bedding for your baby
When you wrap your baby and child in polyester or fleece synthetic fibers, there are chemical-laden fibers present. Most synthetic materials are produced using chemicals. When your child lays their head on their synthetic blanket for the night, they are breathing in tiny particles from the blanket. It is also best for children not to sleep next to their stuffed animals because those cute bunnies and bears are also made from plastic synthetic fibers.
We recommend 100% GOTS certified cotton bedding and sheets.
A few well-planned baby steps can help you reduce your plastic usage and improve the health of your family. Your small changes will benefit you and make you proud of being a sustainably conscious parent.