When hospitals expose infants to phthalates, just what are they thinking?

Many of us suffer from “green overload”. There are so many changes we should make to our lives, we feel overwhelmed and end up doing very little.

We know we should reduce our carbon footprint. We know we should recycle more. And we know we should reduce our family’s exposure to endocrine disruptors like BPA and phthalates.

But we often delay and procrastinate. It’s human nature. Hopefully, we will make these changes, and more.

However, there are some situations where a failure to act immediately is almost beyond comprehension.

In 2005 a Harvard School of Public Health study revealed significant levels of DEHP (a phthalates) in the urine of babies in two separate Boston hospitals. The DEHP was leaching out of the plastic tubes and bags being used to for intravenous feeds.

Babies and young infants are particularly vulnerable to the effects of phthalates.

While the FDA has recommended against the use of these plastics in hospitals where young children and pregnant mothers are being treated, there is no legislation to enforce change.

After all the work that has been done to highlight the negative impact of phthalates on the development of young children, it is astonishing that we fail to act. What are we waiting for?

If you feel outrage that a hospital will knowingly expose a sick baby to risk in this way, the next step is to look around your own house or apartment when the baby comes home.

Phthalates are used in PVC plastics found in some soft plastic children’s toys, teethers and pacifiers, as well as some sippy cups and nipples for bottles.

Yes, we should be outraged that both we and our children are exposed to phthalates in hospitals – the very places where we expect our health to be protected – but we should carry that outrage home with us and make sure we are not unnecessarily exposing our children to further risk.

With some of our green overload, it’s OK to procrastinate. In the case of exposing our children to dangerous chemicals, it’s not.