Baby Teething Discovery

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 15, 2016) – The toys infants use to soothe teeth pain may not be as safe as many parents believe they are – according to Kurunthachalam Kannan.

Kannan, an environmental chemistry professor at UAlbany’s School of Public Health, is earning national attention for suggesting that most baby teethers are not 100-percent free of troubling chemicals. This includes teethers that are labeled “non-toxic” or “BPA-free.”

He and his colleagues tested 59 teethers — including solid, gel-filled and water-filled models — for 26 potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Almost all of them contained at least 15 to 20 of the toxic chemicals.

Their findings were published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, and recently featured by dozens of media outlets, including CBS News, Fox News, Science Daily, WebMD and CTV News.

“This product goes in the mouth of babies and that’s why exposure is a matter of serious concern,” Kannan told CBS News. “Early life stage exposure is serious. Exposure to toxic chemicals during infancy can have detrimental affects and alter stages in life. That’s the theory that’s out there.”

With endocrine-disrupting chemicals having the potential to cause serious health issues, Kannan hopes his discovery will encourage regulators to develop stricter guidelines in teething products and other baby plastics.

“As a consumer myself with babies, I would love to buy products that are considered safe, without toxic chemicals,” Kannan told CBS News.

Kannan serves a dual appointment with the New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center. You can learn more about his research here.

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