Estrogen Supplements for Kids: It’s what’s for dinner!

Are you giving your kids an unhealthy does of estrogen for dinner tonight? For years now, scientific studies have gone back and forth about whether or not plastics release potentially harmful chemicals, especially when heated — like in the microwave or dishwasher.  Recent research seems to once again provide a link between common household plasticware and their release of estrogenic chemicals.

Background Information on BPA and Estrogen in plastics

Many plastics contain the compound bisphenol (BPA), which has been found to act like the  hormone estrogen.  And, while estrogen is a naturally occurring hormone in our bodies, an excess of it has been linked to cancer, diabetes, infertility, obesity,and heart disease.   The concern about an excess of estrogen is even greater when one considers the bodies of infants and children, and the fact that natural  hormone levels are much lower in the years before puberty.  Some feel higher than normal estrogen levels, in some cases, are causing children to reach puberty prematurely.   All of this information brought about  the recent push by companies to create plastic products are “BPA Free.”   This study finds, however, that just buying plasticware advertised as BPA free doesn’t mean it is necessarily safe.  Read on for a summary of the study’s findings.

Research on dangers of plastics

Journalist Eliza Barclay, of NPR News, reported that the research team bought more than 450 plastic items from various retail stores.  They specifically purchased and tested items that were intended to be used with food – deli packaging, water bottles, baby bottles, flexible bags, etc…  These plastics were then chopped up and soaked in either alcohol or saline (saltwater).  After soaking, the liquid was then tested to see if any estrogenic chemicals were present.

The Findings

  • Over  70% of the products tested released chemicals that acted like estrogen when a simple saline or alcohol solution was used.
  • Over 95% of the products released estrogen-like chemicals when the plastics were subjected to real-life wear-and-tear like: dishwashing, microwaving, and exposure to simulated sunlight.
  • In some cases, BPA free products produced more estrogenic activity (EA) than non-BPA free products.

What should consumers and parents do about harmful plastics?

Of course, you will have to be the judge of how much concern these results cause you.  As always, the findings are being disputed by some groups.  For me, it’s one too many studies showing a link between plastics and potentially harmful chemicals.  For our family, my husband and I have decided to reduce our risk of exposure as much as possible.  I’ve already started a “plastics purge” in our kitchen.  We’ll stick with stoneware, ceramics, or glass instead.  Our grocery stores are filled with plastics, and many of our favorites–yogurt, cheese, frozen veggies, bread, milk, deli meats, etc…all come wrapped in plastic.  While we can’t control all of that, by eliminating plastics used  in our kitchen, at least we will reduce the amount of our exposure.

What is your opinion of all of this?  Will you make any changes in your use of plastics?  Let us know.

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Beth celebrates the everyday wonders of life with a keen eye for deals, a flare for the color green, and an honest desire to share with her fellow moms here in town! Check out more of Beth's recent articles, and subscribe to our daily email/rss feed to see what she writes next!
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10 thoughts on “Estrogen Supplements for Kids: It’s what’s for dinner!

  1. Cindy says:

    I agree, Beth. That is what I took from this especially. I started hand-washing my kids special plastic cups last night! I stopped microwaving plastic containers a couple years ago, just now and then I’ll pop it if it is just a 30 second warm up. Not any more! Thanks for this great article and information.

  2. Beth says:

    Michelle-I’ve heard that too. Since my girls were toddlers, we only bought organic milk for that reason. Nowadays, even “regular” milk seems to be OK. If you look on the milk label, you can read whether or not the dairy requires dairy farmers to take a pledge to not use growth hormones on their livestock. Friends of ours who are dairy farmers in the area said this is true with almost all dairies as this point,. They had to sign a contract promising they wouldn’t use growth hormones before the trucks would even schedule pick ups at their dairy! Knowing this, we’ve switched back to the much more affordable non-organic milk.

  3. Beth says:

    Allie–I’m no expert, nor do I play one on AOM (sorry, couldn’t resist!). I would encourage you to read the studies referenced in my post (Just click on the pink letters and it will take you right to the link.), and you can make up your mind based on what you read. For me, the part that made this study that much more alarming was that plastics don’t need the stress of the dishwasher or micro to release estrogenic chemicals on the food or liquids being stored in them. It just happens as foods sit in them. Hope that helps…


    This is scary. As far as the monthly visitor thing, I got mine at 8, that was over 20 years ago, but I also heard the hormones used in cows used for milk or meat can be a factor in that too.

  5. Cindy says:

    Wow, that is crazy Tracy! I wonder how related it was to the environment, plastics, and other things we let into our lives?

  6. Allie says:

    About the sippy cups, i do wash those in the dishwasher, but i do not heat any liquid in the cup (like in the microwave), does this change the exposure? If they release chemicals into my dishwasher, who cares, it just runs down the drain right? Or does it just bring them to the surface, then when i pour cold milk in they go into the milk?

  7. Beth says:

    Thanks for your comment, Tracy. And, with 2 girls myself, they’re my motivation for trying to purge as much as possible.

  8. Tracy @ Hall of Fame Moms says:

    Scary. And one day recently I learned that a 9 yr old I know already got a visit from that monthly *friend. Crazy to think about how much plastic we’d have to get rid of to be free of this threat. Sad.

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