Thursday, October 2, 2008

A better day yesterday, and a slightly hypocritical rant.

Hubby (again) had a last minute meeting with his new grad student minion yesterday, so he packed up Baby N. and brought him into the lab for the afternoon. It's something I'm encouraging for two reasons - 1. If he comes in on his babysitting days off, he can count that time, and he won't have to work through too many Saturdays, preserving some family time until we can get into daycare, and 2. The more N. gets exposed to new faces, the better he'll do when we go home for the wedding in a couple of weeks.

Hubby took a different approach this time - instead of letting people get right into N.'s face to say hello and coo and squeak at him, he got them to stay back a few feet, talk to Hubby, then slowly start to talk and pay attention to the baby. He reacted quite well - by the time I got over to visit them, N. was having a grand old chat with the secretary, and had gotten on quite well with the grad student.

N. is also napping much better lately, to the point where if we're out for the afternoon, and he misses that nap, he'll sleep from supper until bedtime snack, then go right back to sleep afterward. I can't even express how much I love this kid, and how frateful I am to have such a happy, contented baby. I know that he'll have his moments, and that eventually he'll have a moment that'll likely last months, but I'm enjoying him nonetheless!

Now, for my little rant.

I gave in to something last week, something I normally would've stood against on principle, being the type to do my own research and not fall prey to public panic.

I went out and bought new bottles for N. BPA-free ones.

Most people wouldn't find that odd. In fact, I'm sure there are lots of people who're thinking I'm a neglectful parent for not doing it sooner. But, like I said, I try not to blindly follow public opinion without getting the facts.

Like with the whole vaccination issue. Vaccinations do not cause autism. Thimerosal does not cause autism. I can't be arsed to dig up the paper right now, but I've read it. The original (and only) study that caused the panic has been withdrawn, and the results were false. I'm giving my baby (and any of his future siblings) their shots, because it's BETTER for them. It's like making the choice to have the C-section with my elephantine baby - if I can do something to prevent a high-risk occurrence by doing something that has a very very low risk of harm, it's BETTER.

What does this have to do with the whole BPA issue? Well, I'm not entirely convinced that BPA poses a danger in the way we use it from day to day. Most of the studies that are conducted to determine risks are done by giving large doses of the chemical in question to rats, and seeing what happens.

(I realize I'm oversimplifying; don't flame me if you're a scientist too. I get it.)

But it's like the acrylamide scare in fried foods. You'd have to eat pounds and pounds of fried things every day, possibly more food than you could physically consume in 24 hours, and eat like that for months, in order to get the dose of acrylamide that's harmful. Does that mean that there's no acrylamide in fried food? No. Is it negligible? From my perspective, considering the amounts I and my family eat, I think it's pretty safe. I'm more likely to get cancer from the emissions I breathe in on my way to work each day.

BPA is a similar case. It's only released from the plastics when they're heated to a high temperature for an extended period of time. Like when campers boil water for their tea in their Nalgene bottles (which I never would've considered doing - who boils in plastic?!). It turns out Nalgene is phasing out BPA, which I think is a responsible move on their part, considering the outdoor nature of their products. But drinking cold water in my nalgene? Again, I feel that the amount of BPA released is completely negligible.

Swinging this train back around to baby bottles - one of the brands that I was using (let's call them Brand A) didn't have a plastics recycling code stamped on the bottles, but it turns out that their original bottles do have BPA in them. For the most part, this wouldn't be a problem - feeding N. a supplement of 2oz per bottle meant I could let it come up to room temperature while nursing him, avoiding most of the direct heat. But now that I'm at work, Hubby has to feed him larger amounts, which would take hours to come up to room temp. I had bought two of Brand A's new BPA-free bottles, but they're nearly $10 a bottle. Would I spend it for my baby's health? You bet. Do I think Brand A is taking advantage of the public hysteria about BPA? You're damn right they are.

For that reason alone, I really hate the idea of replacing all my bottles and giving a fortune to Brand A, because all they're doing is sticking it to concerned parents. Fortunately, there are other options. The brand of breastpump I have, let's call them Brand M, also makes bottles. They've always been BPA-free, and they're nearly half the price of the other ones.

Could Brand M raise their prices now, considering what the rest of the market is doing? Sure they could. There's a lot of space between where they are now, and the price of Brand A. But, as far as I can tell, they're not doing that. They're just spending a little more on advertising the fact that they've ALWAYS been BPA-free, and I'm sure are getting more business because of it.

I'm pretty sure this BPA thing will blow over eventually, much like acrylamide, and charred food, and all those things. But, in the meantime, I've decided to play it safe. $45 is a small price to pay (and it's smaller than $100!)

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