New study shows that plastic baby bottles can release millions of microplastics per day
A recent study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Food, has found that plastic baby bottles can release millions of microplastics each day. Some bottles released up to 16.2 million microplastics per litre of formula.
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin tested the release of microplastics from 10 polypropylene (a commonly used plastic) feeding bottles. They sterilised the bottles and prepared the formula in them, in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommendations. They then measured the microplastics released and found a range of a few thousand to 16.2 million microplastic particles per litre of infant formula.
Professor John Boland, one of the authors of the study, said “we were absolutely gobsmacked” at the number of microplastics produced by the baby bottles.
The health impacts related to ingesting microplastics are not well understood, but they have the potential to carry hazardous chemicals and transfer them to the organisms that ingest them.
The authors of the study suggest that parents add a couple of steps to the bottle-feeding process: firstly, boiling water in a non-plastic container, cooling it, and using the water to rinse the bottle three times after sterilisation; and secondly, making the formula in a non-plastic container, cooling it, and pouring it into the clean bottle.
They also call on policymakers to “reassess the current guidelines for formula preparation when using plastic infant feeding bottles”.
See our webpage ‘Baby products: advice for parents’ for information on baby products that are less likely to contain harmful chemicals.
This study has also been covered by the Food Packaging Forum, and in the Guardian.