Should Companies Replace BPA Baby Products In The U.S.?

There’s nothing official about BPA in the U.S. (yet), and there’s no legal reason (again, yet) for a company to refund or replace any products that have BPA in them. But with Canada’s newly awarded “toxic” status on the chemical last week, and the subsequent announcements by Nalgene and Playtex that they would stop using BPA in their products, what do you think other companies should do? At least one reader who’s now stuck with some BPA baby bottles thinks they should offer a refund.

Hello Consumerist,
After reading your articles on Canada banning BPA filled baby products and hopefully soon the US, I did some research and was shocked to find the ever popular “First Year’s Breastflow” baby bottles I bought for myself last Christmas at Target were not BPA free. Nor has the “First Year” company done anything to remedy the BPA in their wide variety of baby products. Thank goodness my little girl hasn’t been born yet and the bottles still sit in her nursery waiting to be used.
I figured they’d own up if confronted about it and provide a refund since A) they haven’t been used and still sit in their original boxes and B) they should feel some sort of remorse for not making BPA free baby products. I know Target isn’t going to care since it’s been 90 days and who knows where the receipt is anyways. I don’t think it necessarily needs to be solely Target’s issue anyways, “First Years” needs to take responsibility for selling products with the BPA chemical and hopefully if more parents catch on and email in, they might actually recall their products and start making safer items for our kids.
So I sent in an email to customer care and got this bs canned response about how they don’t care. Any advice on how I can get this taken care of and actually read by someone of importance? Thanks!

  From: CustomerService
Date: Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 7:39 AM
Subject: Re: Care and Safety Question or Feedback for Customer Care
Thank you for your inquiry,
If you are unhappy with your purchase, the company has established return policies with retailers who buy our products directly. Please return the product along with your receipt to the place of purchase for an exchange or refund. The exchange is subject to the discretion and return policies of the individual retailer.
Thank you,
Consumer Services

RC2, the company behind Learning Curves, still has no official statement on its recall page.
From a strictly PR perspective, we think this is a prime moment to jump in and shore up some goodwill from consumers—first movers in the market who go BPA-free and make a big deal about it can claim to “really care” about you, which translates to brand loyalty and blah blah blah. We also imagine that the faster a company moves to address the issue, the less likely they’ll be stuck with any sort of viable class action lawsuit, which you know is only moments away from emerging, like a magical money dolphin only lawyers can see.
On the other hand, BPA hasn’t been banned or labeled toxic in the United States, and there’s still a possibility it won’t be proven harmful to humans. (In Canada, chemicals can be labeled toxic for being proven harmful to animals; in the U.S., only humans count.) And the companies who sold the products had no way of knowing, when they initially produced BPA products, that the chemical might turn out to be bad news.
What’s the general opinion on how a company should proceed?
In the meantime: if you’re concerned about BPA, take matters into your own hands. Hit up the website Z Recommends for an exhaustive list of companies that produce baby products—it ranks them from excellent to poor and gives you pretty much all the info you need to shop wisely for your baby. They even have a free text message service (which we wrote about here) so you can query them from your phone while you’re in the store.
Added bonus: here’s a good summary article on BPA—what it’s found in, what the studies have shown, and what the real risk is once you get past the wall of newscycle hype. (One big takeaway is that you should probably stop using any plastic in the microwave because there haven’t been anywhere near enough tests on what chemicals, if any, are released.)
“The Z Report on BPA In Children’s Feeding Products, Third Edition” [Z Recommends]
“Get Info On BPA-Free Baby Products Via Text Messaging”
(Photo: Getty)