Study finds potentially harmful chemicals in baby teethers
Spend just a few minutes in a classroom full of toddlers and odds are likely that you'll come across something adorable. But this is also the age where children are teething, and staff members at Little Newton's in Plymouth are on the lookout.

"We do experience a lot of teethers, and they have different behaviors when they're teething," said Alise McGregor, a former nurse, who owns Little Newton's. "They'll hold their mouth or they have an increase in saliva. They have more of a tendency to maybe bite."

Many parents buy baby teethers to help sooth teething pain. But a new study found that those teethers might not be free of the troubling chemical known as BPA.

"The American Chemical Society found BPA in 59 teethers that they were looking at, and those teethers were marked as either non-toxic or BPA free," McGregor said.

That's significant because BPA can interfere with hormones that are important to a baby's growth and development. The chemical is already banned in bottles and cups, but teethers aren't subject to the same regulations.

"For me, it was very surprising to see that they found it in 59 teethers, and they're all brands, all different varieties. whether they're soft or water filled," McGregor said.

So instead of using potentially toxic teethers, McGregor suggests parents try other remedies.

"I feel like it's important to just have a cold, refrigerated washcloth, and the baby or the toddler can chew on it," she said. "You could also use cold baby food if they're not eating solid food, or a cold banana."

One method that staff members use at Little Newtons is simply keeping the kids busy to distract them from the pain of teething. Or if the kids happen to bite, the staff members reinforce the fact that teeth are for food, not for biting their friends.

"So it's something that we keep an eye on," McGregor said.

There are also teething tablets on the market that can help numb the pain for kids, but it's recommended that parents check with their doctors first before giving the pills to their children.

Delane Cleveland

Dec. 20, 2016


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