If you have a teething child, this isn’t exactly the news  you’d like to start the year with:
A study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology reports that all tested plastic teethers contained BPA and other endocrine–disruptors that leached at low levels.
Such compounds interfere with hormones and can cause developmental, reproductive, and neurological harm. That’s why BPA has been banned from baby bottles and sippy cups.
But it’s still in countless other products made for children or that children encounter everyday. And apparently, that even includes teething rings labeled as BPA-free.
The researchers analyzed 59 solid, gel–filled or water–filled teethers purchased online in the U.S. for 26 potential endocrine–disrupting chemicals. Although most of the products were labeled BPA–free or non–toxic, all of them contained BPA. In addition, the researchers detected a range of different parabens and the antimicrobials triclosan and triclocarban in most of the teethers. The study also showed that the compounds leached out of the products’ surfaces into water.
While the researchers calculated an average release of endocrine-disruptors [EDCs] lower than European standards for exposure, they also noted that “these thresholds are set for individual compounds. Current regulations do not account for the accumulation of multiple EDCs.”
So what’s the solution? Ditch the plastic.
There are good alternatives available, from rubber or food-grade silicone toys  (which can be cooled in the refrigerator first to provide extra relief) to bamboo teethers  or wood teething rings . Even a frozen washcloth or plain old wooden spoon can do wonders for easing the discomfort of teething. High quality homeopathics such as BioEnergetics’ Body Mend and Inflammation can also be helpful.
Plastic teething rings? Maybe not so much.
Image by cantaloupe99 , via Flickr