Recent Study Finds Hormone Disrupting Chemicals in children’s products
A recent study conducted by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has found endocrine disrupting bisphenols in children’s products.
The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals collaborated with other organisations across the EU to test 121 children’s products for the presence of bisphenols, including bisphenol A (BPA), bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF). Products were purchased from Denmark, Austria, France, Belgium, Italy, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, and online and included baby teething toys, sippy cups, baby slippers, baby blankets, sunglasses and children’s socks.
The tests showed that 60% of the products contained or released at least one, but in many cases two or more, bisphenols. Some of the products contained high amounts of BPA, BPS and BPF.
Evidence has increasingly linked exposure to BPA, a known hormone disruptor, to negative effects on children’s health, including on brain development, impairment of reproductive functioning and increased risks of obesity and diabetes. BPA has also been identified as being of very high concern for wildlife.
Current EU regulation prohibits BPA use in selected products such as infant feeding bottles and places restrictions on the amount of BPA permitted to leach from some children’s products. However, these controls do not extend to other potentially harmful bisphenols.
BPA is increasingly being replaced with other similar bisphenols, such as BPS and BPF. Studies show that BPS use has increased in accordance with decreasing BPA use. However, these alternative bisphenols have also been linked to health concerns as CHEM Trust highlighted in their Toxic Soup report. This is known as regrettable substitution, whereby one chemical is replaced by another similar chemical that is later found out to be similarly harmful. CHEM Trust is calling for a grouping approach to be implemented – where regulations that apply to a harmful chemical are extended to all structurally similar chemicals – to address this.
The presence of bisphenols in these products can add to children’s overall exposure to harmful chemicals. We are constantly exposed to a complex cocktail of known and suspected harmful chemicals, through air, water, food, consumer products, and other routes with little knowledge of the combined effects. Current regulations do not account for this. Read more about the mixture effect in our report ‘Chemical Cocktails: The neglected threat of toxic mixtures and how to fix it’.
The Danish Consumer Council is calling for a phase-out of bisphenols, to protect the health of children and their parents.
CHEM Trust is calling on the EU authorities and the UK government to protect their citizens from harmful chemicals by introducing robust legislation to phase out the most harmful chemicals from consumer products, including children’s products, by 2030.
If you are concerned about children’s exposure to bisphenols, here are some steps you can take:
- Buy organic children’s clothes and toys made from organic fabrics.
- Choose toys made from solid wood, if painted look for water-based non-toxic paints made with natural dyes (e.g. vegetable pigments).
- Look for toys with the EU Ecolabel.
- If babies/children place a plastic toy in their mouth, remove it and offer a safer alternative.
- Avoid plastic bottles and cups; where this is not possible refill sippy cups and bottles frequently rather than leaving drinks in them for long periods.
- Ask manufacturers whether their toys/clothes contain any bisphenols.
Find out more about avoiding harmful chemicals in baby products on our advice for parents webpage.