New consumer guides to safe plastics and children’s products


by Ben Lilliston, 9/24/08 • New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on the health risks from the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), found in many plastic and children’s products, highlights the challenge for consumers to find safer plastics.

Think Forward is a blog written by staff of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy covering sustainability as it intersects with food, rural development, international trade, the environment and public health. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.

To help consumers navigate the myriad of choices they face in the marketplace, IATP last week released two new consumer guides:

1– Smart Plastics Guide: Healthier Food Uses of Plastics. This is an updated version of our most popular consumer guide, also known as the publication that crashed our server when it appeared on the Today Show and the entire viewing audience decided to download it at once. The new Smart Plastics Guide includes the latest science and marketplace developments to help consumers make wise choices about the types of plastics they purchase. The guide includes information on all seven labels for plastic products, health and environmental risks of chemicals used in plastics, the latest on green chemistry and 10 tips for safer use of plastics in storing food. And because there are so few resources out there for consumers on plastics, we also have produced a Common Questions and Answers to accompany the Smart Plastics Guide.

2– Guide to Safe Children’s Products. Co-produced with the Minnesota-based public health coalition Healthy Legacy, this guide helps parents learn about synthetic chemicals commonly used in children’s products (and how to avoid them). It includes a full-page insert on safer children’s products ranging from baby bottles, utensils, pacifiers, teethers and more.

As IATP’s Kathleen Schuler said in our press release, “Ultimately, consumers shouldn’t need these safe product resources. But as we are eagerly anticipating government regulation of these toxic chemicals, we wanted to provide consumers with a way to make smart and safe choices for their families.”