April 21st, 2008

Safer Sipping

I give up. I have officially been disturbed enough by reports of the health risks associated with the use of plastic sippy cups containing bisphenol A or BPA to get rid of ours. I have been shopping for replacements and finding a number of different options. I thought we could share some information and recommendations here.

I’m kind of partial to this cool stainless steel design by Thermos. But one review I read said it was hard to put together and rather leaky:

I’m also considering this slightly cheaper sippy cup from Born Free which had better leak-reviews, but I cannot get past the fact that I don’t like the look of it. It seems bulky and space-shippish, not sleek and simple like the Thermos design.

Am I being stupid? Am I leaving out a better option? Share!

45 comments to Safer Sipping

  • Check out SIGG bottles. I think that’s the way we are going.

  • Suzie

    I’m having a hard time justifying the expense of the ‘safe’ cups when they have such a great potential to be forgotten or lost in a number of places! Of course, when it comes to safety, I usually find a way. Our youngest uses 4 or 5 sippy cups and rarely are they all in the cupboard – I tossed a few ‘bad’ cups this weekend, too. Maybe if there is only one cup, it won’t be misplaced?

  • sheo

    Daniele,
    I don’t think you’re being stupid at all. That news is pretty alarming. But, it’s worth noting that a lot of sippy cups are not in the class of plastic that leaches BPA. I checked all of my sippy cups, and they are all polypropylene, a type of plastic considered to be extremely safe, from what I understand. If you check on the bottom of your cups (or other items), look for the number inside the recycling symbol. Number 7 is the category most baby bottles (and some sippy cups) are made of – that’s the one to worry about. It’s my understanding that polypropylene cups (class 5) don’t contain BPA, and aren’t thought to leach significant amounts of anything. Maybe someone else knows more about it, and could help elucidate the whole thing.
    Still…the whole thing has put Regina Doman’s plastic purge more towards the front of my mind. I’m thinking I’m going to try to eliminate as much plastic as I can without getting totally impractical about it.
    One more thing – not sure how many people would want to try this, but since we’ve lost most sippy cup lids over time, I bought each child under 5 a really small tin cup. The toddlers love them, and they’re very lightweight and easy for them to handle. No more spills than we had before, and they store better and don’t topple over like a lot of top-heavy sippy cups do. For whatever it’s worth…

  • Jeannie

    I have the SIGG bottles for my two little ones. However, my 20 month old cannot really use it without my assistance so i have stopped using it for him. My 4 year old has no problem with it though and she really likes it. I usually use the cups that have a straw and the SIGG does not have a straw. I am currently looking into the Klean Kanteen. These are pricier but I have only lost cups twice and with pricier cups I am sure I will be extra attuned to bringing them home with us.

  • Jen

    Tupperware say it uses no bisphenol-A in it’s baby bottles and toys. I assume that means the sippy cups, too, but I can check. Just send me an e-mail if you’d like me to check.

  • Cranberry

    ditch the sippy cups all together! You can teach your toddler to drink from a small regular cup. Just don’t leave it within your reach when not looking until he learns not to dump. Just give it to him for sips and put out of reach. Plus, if they drink mostly water anyway, it doesn’t stain. :-)

  • Jeannine

    We use the Gerber color-change cups. I just checked it out, and they appear to be BPA-free. I purchase them at Target. Though I love the idea of going sippy-cup-free, there are times, especially when out of the house, that a sippy-cup is just the thing.

    I was just researching BPA and dental sealants this morning! We’re going to pass on that one. Imagine having this stuff in the mouth until it disintegrates and gets swallowed! Yikes!

  • Ahna

    We have the Klean Kanteen with sippy adaptor. Even my 8 month old can manage it, and my 3 yr old loves his for the car & as a nighttime water bottle. Dishwasher safe, as well as easy to clean by hand. The only leak we’ve had was when I didn’t make sure the sippy spout was snapped in place completely.

  • mcm

    i agree with cranberry. i have four kids, one is 3. never used bottles never used sippy cups. not bragging ;-) )), i just found it more of a hassle than just going from nursing, straight to a regular cup. cleaning up a mess now and then is just easier than dealing with lost cups, lost lids, lids that don’t match and, apparently, plastic leaching chemicals into my children! if we travel, i use water bottles (hopefully these don’t leach chemicals as well) and just reuse them as long as they haven’t been lost!

  • Meme

    Hi! does anyone have a website to look at that states which ones are good vs. bad?!?! I dont’ have the time to check it out. I did not even know about all this talk of sippy cups! I am very concerned. thank you!!!

  • Meme

    Hi! does anyone have a website to look at that states which ones are good vs. bad?!?! I dont’ have the time to check it out. I did not even know about all this talk of sippy cups! I am very concerned. thank you!!!

  • Kelly

    I’ve spent some time reading through everything on this website, though haven’t decided what to switch to yet:

    http://zrecs.blogspot.com/2007/05/sippy-cup-showdown-safer-bpa-free-sippy.html

  • Carolyn A

    Is there a link to a list of the offensive plastics? We’re not big into sippys right now, but I’d like to check out what plastics are safe and which are not.

    Thanks.

  • Jeannie

    A couple of things to add. I had no idea but one of the straw cups I have apparently is “ok” and it was really inexpensive. I bought it at Target. This website has it:
    http://www.thesoftlanding.com/nu12mesiwifl.html
    They carry “safe” plastics and such. I use this only for my 20 month old as my daughter uses cups around the house and only when we go out to the beach, museums, car trips and such does she use the SIGG. Hope that helps.

  • LeeAnn

    I tried the Nuby’s first, but ended up giving them away in frustration. My son chewed through the soft spouts very easily. They seemed to tear very easily. The ones we had had a very large soft spout. Maybe other models work better.

  • Jeannie

    LeeAnn you are right about the straw. That happened and I threw it out and bought another and it didn’t seem to happen again.

    I should clarify, after reading more carefully, that apparently one part of the flip top does contain the dreaded bPa and that The Soft Landing deemed it safe to carry only because it didn’t come into contact with the liquid. Hmm…not sure I am comfortable with this still.

  • I found a lot of information here:

    http://www.naturemoms.com/blog/2008/04/19/bpa-free-feeding-gear-update/

    I’ve found this blog to be a good resource for these types of questions, even though I don’t agree with everything she says.

    I remember doing some research on this a few months ago and learning the “conventional” sippy cups we were using were already BPA-free, so definitely check that out first. (Companies I emailed sent timely responses explaining exactly which products contained or did not contain BPA.) I recommend checking first, before going to a lot of expense to invest in new ones.

  • Theresia

    hmmmmm. My playtex sippy cups don’t have a number at all on the bottom and neither do the lids. I see the cute disposable princess sippy cups that I recently bought have that stinkin number 5 on them though!!!!!!!!

    As to not using sippy cups, well, that’s all well and good at home with water but on the road I just don’t see it as an option. When you are gone for hours at a time – lugging teens around to various places. Y just gotta have some handy drinks for the poor little darlins. I can’t imagine the juice bag, bottled water options is all that great either — Oh the ruined outfits we’ve had over the years from juice bags and boxes – always on the way TO some event. Stopping to poor water from a jug into some sort of nonsippy cup while on the road doesn’t sound too workable either. After 19 years STRAIGHT of having toddlers, a ‘dripless’ sippy cut seems to be the only thing to get us through. But I’m open to ideas and often can’t see options that are right in front of my nose!! ;)

    Thanks alot Danielle for giving me something else to stress about!! ;) Just teasing you. My dh says I always need something to worry about. This can be this weeks…

    Really though this sippy cup/leaching plastic thing has been in the back of my mind but I hadn’t had time to read into it. So thanks for the heads up.

    And what about all those plastic storage containers? plastic plates the kids eat off of?! I know we shouldn’t be microwaving or freezing in some of it. I recently heard about NOT freezing water bottles – we ALWAYS do that during baseball season and on vacations. yikes.

    sigh.

  • Christina

    Nalgene has non leaching bottles. Not their famous bottles, but a slightly softer, opaque white. My husband didn’t want the metal ones, so I bought these.

    http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com/store/detail.aspx?ID=84

  • Joan

    I just ordered myself a Klean Kanteen from Amazon. I was just having a discussion about this this afternoon with my chiropractor. I had bought a Camelbak bottle back in the fall, and now I find out it is the kind that leaches toxins. That stinks. But at least I don’t use the plastic water bottles anymore that sit for weeks and months. To me, that is poison. Just my opinion. Danielle you are not nuts.

  • SandyK

    The safest way for little ones is Mama for as long as they will nurse but sooner or later the dilemna arises about what to drink out of. I haven’t seen a glass bottle for years but I recently saw some of the products by Klean Kanteen when I was buying a stainless steel bottle for myself. They have a stainless bottle which begins with a nipple for babies and has a top with a sippy feature for older children.The only big drawback is that most children will throw them eventually and they could be harmful that way.So what do we do?

  • Monica

    What are people’s thoughts about other places where this is found. I understand that is also used in the linings of canned goods.

  • Teresa G.

    Ha! I can’t imagine life without cups with lids! We have nine kids and all but the older four still use a cup with lid. Like, I mean, the 11 year old on down. Too many tightly placed chairs and elbows at the table that cause too many spills. Saves my sanity, and the kids don’t care a bit. I don’t look at it as an issue of having to “wean” them from it. Actually, when guests come over, they too want a lid; I guess it’s a novel idea :) . Traveling would be a nightmare without the lids. We don’t actually use the sippy kind that don’t leak, just the regular plastic cups with the flat lid with a spout.

    We use mostly the First Years brand, and my husband gets replacement lids off the internet when we run out (the cups never seem to get lost but the lids do). Ours are all the solid color ones, and from my understanding it is the clear plastic and the clear colored plastic that is the culprit. I did check the bottoms of all of our a few weeks ago, and threw out a handful of Winnie-the-Pooh bottles that had the number 7 on them. The rest of ours checked out fine.

  • Anne

    I saw an article about this as well and threw out our Gerber cups and replaced them with Avent. The price isn’t bad (they usually come in a pack of two at the grocery store for around $8), although they do leak a little (although if you only have water in them, no need to worry about a stain). I like these ones because they fit in my babies’ hands well and they fit in the little cup holders in the stroller. They come in 7 oz. and 9 oz. size as well as a 12 oz.

    http://www.aventamerica.com/products/toddlerfeeding/toddlerfeeding_cup.asp

  • anne

    As a mommy of 9 and oldest sis to 14, I say forget the sippy cup! Begin as early as possible to let the baby drink from a cup. Our family has never used sippy cups and the babies drink well from cups around 12 months. Water in the summertime make the perfect teachable combination!

  • WE have the playtex cups and they seem to be ok. I will keep looking into it.

  • Tina H.

    This must be on all of our minds lately. I just recently bought a SIGG. I am disappointed. I think I will need to experiement with a different top. The one I purchased you have to push the top with your teeth/lips to get the water to drain out of the top. This will be hard with our one with braces. I really like this topic and finding out what everyone else is using. THANKS!

  • Pat

    This is from an article in the 4/14/08 Washington Post titled, “How to Limit Your BPA Exposure”:

    * Instead of polycarbonate and PVC plastics, consider using alternatives such as polyethylene plastic — also labeled as PETE or recycling code #1, #2 (HDPE) and #4 (LDPE). Polypropylene (recycling code #5, or PP) is also considered a safe choice. Recycling code #7 may mean the product contains BPA.

  • Christine

    To confirm (from a materials engineer, specialises in polymers): BPA is only present with polycarbonate (number 7 if it is marked for recycling, although not all number 7 plastic is polycarbonate). Despite government bans, there aren’t actually any studies showing that there is a sufficient quantity to harm even infants leached from the plastic, and there is NOT enough to cause harm to adults (although it might be able to exacerbate other conditions) so while it’s better to us somethign else, it isn’t really dangerous to use. Leaching will be more with time, heat or if there are traces of bleach (so if you use bleach to sterilize something make sure you wash it out really well).

    PET isn’t great either (number 1), although that is time leaching more than anything else, so it should be ok to just fill a container and drink from it immediately (bottled water on the other hand, sits in the bottle for a long time). Speaking of chemicals added to polymers, stay away from plastic wrap, just use normal containers for food, especially in the microwave.

    Safe plastics include polypropelene, which can be heated in the microwave with no problems (number 5), and basically any opaque plastic (it’s a different form of the polymer, different chemicals to process it).

  • Me

    Does anyone know if hte “first years” sip and throw out cups- either with the sippy cup top or a straw insertion ones- are okay?

  • momofsome

    Hi ladies,

    Thanks for this discussion. I have to admit, this has been in the back of my mind, so it’s great that you have brought it up.

    This is really important to me because I have a child with special needs, who, um, needs to use sippy cups. This isn’t an option for us. Right now I’m using the Playtex ones that look like a coffee travel mug, mainly to help her with oral motor issues. I tried looking over the Playtex website, to see if these are a problem, but I couldn’t tell if they were saying that the cups I own aren’t a problem, being a year old, or if they have simply fixed the problem with the ones that are on the shelves now. And to complicate this, my cups and lids don’t have the little triangle with the number to tell me which plastic it is.

    Help! Life is getting WAY too complicated!

  • Eliz

    Danielle, I know you have officially given up, but maybe you can post a link to a reliable site that lists which plastics are “safe” — that is, which number plastics are. I’ve read through all the comments and there are at least 3 contradictory assertions about which are the problem numbers.

    Or if anyone else knows a reliable site (i.e. not someone else’s blog) and could post it, that would be helpful for any moms (like me!) who might be freaking out about whether number 5 plastic on my sippy cup is safe or not.

  • stephanie

    Eliz: National Geographic has a “Green Guide” and their explanation on plastics is here:

    http://www.thegreenguide.com/products/Kitchen/Plastic_Containers

    Their Buying Guide covers just about everything from pillows to pest control, if you want to start reading more about other chemicals we’re exposed to in households:

    http://www.thegreenguide.com/products/

    To play the devil’s advocate, regarding the BPA issue, this is the Bisphenol A website that explains what it is, how it’s used, products that it is is and levels that we’re exposed to etc:

    http://www.bisphenol-a.org/

  • Amanda

    Hi ladies,

    Here’s a pretty informative article I just found that spells out which plastics are “safer” than others. Haven’t looked at ours yet to evaluate but will definitely be checking today!

    http://www.thegreenguide.com/products/Kitchen/Plastic_Containers

  • Theresia

    Amanda,
    Thanks for this link. Should have read it BEFORE I threw out ALL of the #5 sippy cups yesterday, including the new ones I had just bought. aaaaarrrrrggh. when will I learn to research on my own FIRST?!

  • Amberly

    Ladies…if you are looking for BPA free bottles and you are a fan of Playtex…go to http://www.playtexbaby.com/bpafree/info.html…they are giving out 1 million free “Original Nurser Systems” to show they are committed to BPA free…they have many products that already are and they are switching the rest over within the year…if you are looking for a free bottle, here you go!!!

    The best part is that the nurser system is actually proven to help with colic and baby gas…we swear by them! Even when breastfeeding! Also perfect for going back and forth from bottle to breast when you are working!

  • Kimberly

    We switched too. It’s just not worth the risk. The sippy cups we were using didn’t have any indication on the cup itself as to what plastic it was made from. So we tossed them and restocked the cabinet with Platex “Insulator” sippy cups. Right on the bottom there is a number 5 recycle sign. No more worries :)

  • MommaOnTheMove

    The son of one of the gals in LLL with me chipped a tooth on the Thermos design. So, we are going with the Born Free ones. They are not as space age-ish in person. And the boys LOVE them.

  • melissa

    Christina suggested Nalgene: We have the Grip-n-gulp- pricey, but cool. THey have a spill-proof valve.
    http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com/store/SearchResult.aspx?CategoryID=40
    Love ‘em!

  • Laura

    Amberly… thanks for the link! I am expecting our first in just a few weeks, so any free baby items are great. :D

  • Carolyn A

    Just read this good commentary. Maybe the plasitcs hype is just much ado about nothing . . .

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120882720657033391.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

  • Sarah

    I agree with the others who have suggested foregoing the sippy cups. When I learned more of the Montessori-ish approached, I realized that babies can learn to drink from cups during infancy and then I thought about what people did before sippy cups were invented.

    My son was 18mo when we stopped using sippy cups. It astounded most relatives. My daughter has never been able to use sippy cups b/c she doesn’t understand how to suck when the valves are in, and that’s okay. Neither kids had bottles or pacifiers, so maybe that was part of the reason. But she’s 15mo and can drink out of cups (she gets little juice glasses – yes glass) by herself. Sure, there are some spills down her front, but that’s part of learning.

    We do, however, have plastic sippy cups in the car. Sometimes the kids get thirsty and need a sip, and well, it’s just not practical to hand a toddler an open-topped cup in the car, even if it is water.

    Good luck finding a cup that works for you!

  • Katie

    There are a LOT of BPA free options now. Here’s a good list:

    http://amomsblog.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/bpa-free-bottles-and-sippy-cups/

    I’m partial to the Munchkin ones. They work great and are relatively inexpensive.

  • Ali

    Does anyone know the danger of 7 in other plastics (not sippy or bottles)? I was just feeding my 7 mo Gerber organics in the plastic containers and noticed a 7 on the bottom. I called Gerber and they told me it is perfectly safe that the 7 is for recycling purposes and not BPA. Is this true? Can I trust them? I wonder if I should return these and get glass jars of food (or make my own).
    By the way, Gerber is offering replacement coupons for their cups that have BPA just call them and they’ll send a postage paid label. 8004gerber however, they are not recalling any products since they feel they are safe.

  • mommy of 4 boys

    we love these!!
    Durable: inexpensive (we get them at the container store)
    http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com/store/detail.aspx?ID=1231
    and since we have 4 little boys we also have these labels:
    http://www.inchbug.com