Microplastics in Baby Bottles: Research, Is It Safe, and How To Reduce It – Microplastics are now found almost everywhere on Earth, but scientists don’t yet understand much about how everyday products can release these tiny plastic particles.
If you drink from a plastic bottle or eat from a microwave-safe container, you are most likely using polypropylene.
Polypropylene is considered safe and suitable for a wide range of uses – so this plastic is widely used in food serving.
This material is also found in baby milk bottles.
Typically, parents will choose a polypropylene milk bottle (PP) to serve formula milk to their baby.
Polypropylene is the most common type of plastic used for food containers.
In general, we assume that bottles made of plastic are very rigid and stable when sterilized with hot water and shaken.
Microplastics in Baby Bottles Previous Research
However, in the latest research shows that feeding formula with polypropylene bottles leaves babies worldwide exposed to more than 1 million microplastic particles every day.
This is bigger than previously estimated.
Previous research has shown that older persons and children in the U.S. are exposed to between 74,000 to 211,000 particles throughout the year, through food, beverages and air.
Microplastics in Baby Bottles Research 
Well, a study released on Monday (10/19/2020) revealed, babies who are given bottled milk can apparently swallow millions of microplastic particles every day.
With the increasing use of baby bottles made of PP, scientists then sought to assess whether exposure to microplastics at this level was a risk to the health of the baby.
10 types of milk bottles and accessories were also examined. The results were published in nature food journal.
The study also sterilized plastic bottles and made formula milk in accordance with official guidelines from the World Health Organization.
From this study revealed, bottle sterilization and high water temperatures most influence the release of microplastics.
The study found that hot water, coupled with the bottle shaking process, produced many microplastics mixed with formula milk.
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, said babies could potentially consume millions of pieces of microplastics from their milk bottles.
The conclusion came after researchers conducted a series of studies on baby milk bottles.
From the analysis, researchers found between 1.3 to 16.2 million microplastic particles per liter were released by bottles during the sterilization process.
Exposure to hot water, such as using boiling water to sterilize plastic bottles has also been shown to increase the number of microplastics in bottles significantly.
Researchers say the number of microplastics released, jumped from 0.6 million to 55 million particles when the temperature increased from 25 degrees Celsius to 95 degrees Celsius.
Furthermore, researchers also estimated levels of microplastics exposure for 12-month-old infants in different parts of the world.
The estimate was based on factors such as the type of bottle used, the average volume of daily milk intake, and the level of breastfeeding.
As a result, they concluded that infants in Africa and Asia have the lowest potential exposure to microplastics. While infants in Oceania, North America, and Europe have the highest potential for exposure.
Microplastics in Baby Bottles, Is It Safe?
However, it remains unclear whether ingesting microplastics have an impact on human health.
Heather Leslie of VU Amsterdam in the Netherlands said the source of plastic particles involved in human exposure was important to identify.
Ingeborg Kooter of the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) said it is recommended that milk bottles be sterilized and baby formula milk heated to destroy potentially harmful bacteria.
Any potential risks that may be posed to infants by microplastics should therefore be considered against the risk of exposure to harmful bacteria.
How To Reduce the Level of Microplastics in Baby Bottles
If people are worried, they can reduce the level of microplastics produced during formula preparation by minimizing exposure to heat and vibration of plastic bottles. For example, a formula can be prepared in a separate non-plastic container and transferred only to a sterilized plastic milk bottle after the formula has cooled.