Looks Like BPA Isn't the Only Worrisome Chemical in Your Baby's Teethers

A recent study has found that even BPA-free teethers might contain chemicals that can potentially harm your baby.

Baby Teether Safety Mi.Ti./Shutterstock
You're probably well aware of the harmful nature of BPA, and you likely go out of your way to toss items that contain the stuff —but that might not be enough. According to a recent study, baby teethers can still have harmful chemicals lurking in them...even if they're labeled "BPA-free" or "non-toxic."

BPA exposure has been linked to laziness in children, can lead to hormonal changes and has a whole slew of effects on pregnant women. The U.S. has restricted the inclusion of BPA in products that babies are consistently exposed to—but this new research indicates that teethers aren't held to the same regulations. 

The researchers chose to look at teethers because babies have such consistent exposure to them: They looked at 59 teethers....and found chemicals that can affect the endocrine system  even in products labeled "non-toxic" or "BPA-free."

This research was published in Environmental Science & Technology.

“We wanted to look at chemicals in baby teethers as one of the sources of exposure because now they come in different forms. The gel and water-filled teethers have some preservatives in them such as paraben, which can affect the endocrine system,” study author Kurunthachalam Kannan told CBS News. “Almost 90 percent of the teethers we bought were labeled as BPA-free, but we found BPA in almost every product and most were labeled as non-toxic. We were finding more than 15 to 20 toxic chemicals in all of the them."

The researchers observed this by placing teethers in water (in order to simulate the moisture from a baby's mouth) and then studied the water, where they found traces of the chemicals. 

This is incredibly important news: Keeping babies away from these chemicals is important, and when you consider the nature of teethers—items that go into the mouths of babies—it becomes even more pressing. Kannan suggests parents give teething babies frozen items (like bagels, washcloths, waffles or carrots) to teeth on if they wish to avoid this exposure.