Guest blog from Aida Garcia, founder of Non-Toxic Munchkin
We’re excited to feature our first guest blog contribution from Aida Garcia, founder of Non-Toxic Munchkin, who helps parents to make better choices when it comes to protecting their little ones from toxic chemicals. Here, she tells us all about hidden toxins in plastic bowls and using the right type of utensils to feed your baby.
Aida is also offering a 20% discount on a full house consultation. Simply quote Little Foodie Club when booking.
As parents we care about what our children eat. We make sure they are getting nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins. We plan ahead to make sure they are exposed to a variety of tastes and nutrients. We pay extra for certified organic foods to make sure our children aren’t eating foods full of harmful pesticides. But what about the items we use to serve our babies' food?
Sometimes overlooked, items that come into contact with our food are actually one of the main forms of exposure to some well known toxic chemicals. Even items marketed towards children and babies can contain dangerous chemicals. Here are some of the most common culprits.
Bisphenols: A class of endocrine disruptors that mimic our hormones and throw off our hormonal imbalance. Most of us know about BPA, and choose BPA free products, however the most common substitutes for BPA, a bisphenol called BPS is just as bad. Bisphenols can be found in hard clear plastic, as well as the inside lining of canned foods. It can migrate fairly easily onto our food and from there into our body.
Phthalates: Man-made chemicals that are put into rigid plastics to make them softer, phthalates are also endocrine disrupting chemicals – many of them known for their antiandrogenic properties (they block the actions of testosterone). In the US three phthalates are currently banned for products used to feed children. Effective April of this year, five more phthalates will be banned (unfortunately there are many other potentially harmful phthalates not included in the ban that still need to be studied). However this means that any plastic you currently have in your home or are currently in store shelves will continue to have these soon to be banned phthalates.
Melamine: Some melamine tableware is made with a melamine-formaldehyde resin. When these items are exposed to extremely acidic environments (i.e. tomato sauce, orange juice or lemonade) and then heated, the resin chemical can and do migrate into the food. High exposure to melamine has been linked to kidney stones and kidney failure.
Lead: Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin. No level of lead is safe for young children nor babies. However, lead is commonly found in ceramic dish ware. While imported items may contain higher levels, even dishes sold in the US have been found to contain lead. Inexpensive , lower quality silicone tableware items could contain lead too.
Polyvinyl chloride: PVC, or vinyl as it is commonly called, is considered by many to be the most toxic kind of plastic – a known carcinogen. Inexpensive feeding accessories like bibs and placemats are still often made of PVC.
If you are looking to decrease your family’s exposure to these harmful chemicals consider following these tips:
Acidic foods: Do not store acidic foods, like tomato sauce or orange juice in plastic. The exposure to acidity can break down plastic, allowing for Bisphenols to escape.
Heat: Heat speeds up the leaching of endocrine disrupting chemicals commonly found in plastic. Never expose plastics to heat. Avoid re-heating food in plastics in the microwave or placing very warm (i.e. soup) foods on plastic plates. Hand wash plastics instead of placing in the dishwasher.
Worn out plastics: Do not use scratched, badly worn or cloudy plastics for your food and beverages.
Antiques or chipped tableware: Avoid using antique tableware since these often can contain lead. Also avoid using chipped ceramic tableware since this could also potentially increase lead migration to food.
PVC: If it smells like plastic it is probably PVC - consider switching the item out for one made of safer materials.
Detergents; Wash your tableware with non-toxic detergents free from synthetic fragrance, phosphates, triclosan, SLS, Cocamide dea etc If the company does not disclose the ingredients in the soap – don’t buy it and choose a safer option.
What's safe? The safest materials to use if you want to avoid toxic chemicals at mealtime are: Wood, bamboo, stainless steel, glass (with silicone sleeves for protection) and fabric snack packs. The more natural option will always be the safer option.