Q. I’ve been hearing all the scary news about bisphenol-A in baby bottles, so I got rid of any I was unsure of and replaced them with BPA-free ones. But what about pacifiers? My 6-month-old spends many more hours sucking on a pacifier than she does drinking from a bottle. 

– Helena, OH

A. You’ve already addressed the greater concern with BPA by replacing your daughter’s bottles.

Pacifiers are much less worrisome for two reasons. First, even if a pacifier does contain any BPA, it’s probably only going to be in the hard plastic “anchor” rather than the squishy end. Pacifier nipples are made of either silicon or latex, neither of which would contain any BPA (though many experts still say to avoid latex since it’s a potential allergen.)

Second, the real risk of BPA exposure comes when it leeches into something that a child ingests — and that’s why bottles, cups, and liquid formula can-lining have generated more attention, says Anila Jacob, MD, senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group, a watchdog organization that has analyzed BPA research in detail.

Still, if you want to be on the safe side, you can probably find a BPA-free pacifier without going to too much trouble. No one seems to have done any independent testing for BPA in pacifiers so far, but some manufacturers are already responding to parents’ concerns by labeling theirs as “BPA-free.” Playtex, Born Free, and Soothie are a few brands that a currently doing so, and we’d expect others to soon follow.

If your daughter is already devoted to a brand that doesn’t have such a label, though, a couple of parent-bloggers seem to have done an admirable amount of legwork in calling manufacturers to get more info about specific pacifiers. Check out SafeMama and Z Recommends to see what they found out. Or follow their examples and make some calls of your own. It never hurts for parents to put a little extra pressure on companies for the sake of their kids’ health.

Story by Sarah Schmidt. This article originally appeared in Plenty in October 2008. This story was added to MNN.com.

Copyright Environ Press 2008

Are pacifiers safe?
Pacifiers probably don't contain BPA, but there are BPA-free ones available for purchase from several companies.