Several parents have written or stopped by to let me know that our current project on Waste-Free Lunches was wreaking havoc in their homes. They asked for more information. Please have a look at the letter below, which includes websites, to have more information. I will find a way to attach the Bisphenol A factsheet as well.
We are investigating the use of plastics in relation to a "Waste-Free Lunch" grant we received from the World Wildlife Fund. I showed the children 2 podcasts, one called "Plastic Plague" produced in part by PBS and National Geographic and "The Story of Stuff" (we watched only the last section on disposal). You can find them on the class blog here http://msnapiersclass.blogspot.com/2009/05/plastic-plague.html and here http://msnapiersclass.blogspot.com/ .
As I discussed with the students, we have to be careful of being alarmist and overreacting. Details of the test profiled in the NG podcast showed that the liquid had been in bottles 24 hours, which is not usually the case for lunch box items. As well, BPA is the substance we are warned of, and many plastics are BPA free. One of the difficulties seems to be that BPA has become part of the recycling 'cycle' and is present in trace amounts in many items (there was a Consumer reports article about this sometime last year). Certainly, refillable plastic bottles seem to be preferable to single-use plastics which can sit for long periods of time during the production cycle before being consumed. Canada has declared BPA toxic this fall (http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/10/13/bpa-toxic.html), but has not yet banned it's use.
Thank you for writing, and I would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.