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When it comes to child safety, parents tend to pull out all the stops ... or maybe parents are the ones actually putting in all the stops. Regardless, a recent study about baby teething toys, or chew toys, which are not regulated in the same category as baby bottles, has shown that "BPA-free" may not actually really mean BPA-free. The study showed that not only did toys labeled as "non-toxic" contain toxic chemicals, but a majority of toys labeled as "BPA-free" actually contained BPA.
The study was designed to look at whether baby teething toys contained EDCs (endocrine disruptor chemicals), BPA, and other toxic chemicals. EDCs are harmful chemicals that can affect a person's development in many ways. Because all the harmful links between BPA, EDCs, and other toxins remain unknown, some researchers suggest avoiding as many as possible.
In 2012, the FDA banned BPA from baby bottles and children's drinking cups. However, teethers were not included in the ban. This meant that while many companies voluntarily claimed to remove BPA from their products, there was no mandate to investigate these products for BPA. Which leads to perhaps the most shocking result from the study: a high percentage of teethers that were used in the study were mislabeled as non-toxic or BPA-free or both.
Fortunately, as the researchers found, the levels of BPA that the teethers gave off were, assuming normal teether usage, generally within what is considered safe. More protective parents, or weary researchers, are likely to disagree with what is considered safe.
While teethers with a touch of BPA may be okay, it might be best to heed the experts' warnings about avoiding the homeopathic teething tablets and gels. The products, though they used to have a reputation for working well, are now strongly cautioned against as multiple deaths have reported. The first recalls for homeopathic teething tablets and gels began in 2010, and unfortunately, their continued use required official warnings to be put out warning against their use.
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