30 July 2010

Groups Seek Precautionary Ban on Bisphenol A (BPA) to Protect Children's Health

To mark the annual World Breastfeeding Action Week from August 1 to 7, children’s health and chemical safety campaigners pressed the government to adopt a precautionary ban on the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in consumer products, particularly in plastic baby feeding bottles.

BPA, an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate plastics and certain epoxy resins for lining metal cans, has gained toxic notoriety for being linked to very serious health issues and thus provoking governments to control, if not ban, BPA.

“The heightened global concern over human exposure to BPA and the probable health effects even at very low doses should move the government into imposing a precautionary ban starting with BPA-tainted children’s products,” said Velvet Roxas, a mother of two kids and representing both the Arugaan and the EcoWaste Coalition.

“The toxic health threat from BPA-laced feeding bottles for artificial milk formula should encourage all mothers to feed and nourish their children with breastmilk, the most nutritious and ecological food for babies,” she added.

According to Arugaan and the EcoWaste Coalition, various studies have shown that exposure to BPA can cause health effects even at extremely low doses, including birth, reproductive, nervous and behavioral developmental disorders.

Some studies have also associated BPA to “feminizing baby boys” and increasing the risk of breast cancer in girls and women.

Last June 2010, Californian state legislators voted to ban BPA in baby products for children aged three and under. As a precautionary step, Denmark in March 2009 banned BPA in food and drink containers for the under threes, while Canada in 2008 banned the use of BPA in baby feeding bottles.

An international conference to be convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization will be held in Canada in October 2010 to develop guidance on BPA for food safety regulators.

A fact sheet on BPA published by the EcoWaste Coalition explains that exposure to BPA and its derivatives comes mostly from contamination of food, as it has been shown to leach from the epoxy linings of canned foods and polycarbonate containers.

Fetuses, infants, and children around puberty are most at risk from its effects since their bodies are still growing and developing, the fact sheet warns.

As the ban on BPA is not yet in place, Arugaan and the EcoWaste Coalition encourage consumers to observe the following to prevent or reduce toxic exposure:

1. Nourish your child with breastmilk, the most complete and first Zero Waste food. Go for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continue breastfeeding for two years and beyond.

2. Go for cupfeeding or the giving of expressed breastmilk through cups as the situation requires (expressing is the taking of milk from the breast, without the baby suckling, by hand or with a breast pump).

3. Refrain from feeding your baby canned foods with plastic linings, which might contain BPA.

4. Avoid polycarbonate plastic containers, usually marked “PC” or the number “7”; use safer alternatives such as glass, ceramics or stainless steel.

5. Refrain from microwaving food and beverage in plastic or plastic cling wraps. If you prefer to microwave, put the food or drink on a suitable plate or cup instead.

6. Reduce consumption of canned foods as can liners may contain BPA; opt for fresh natural and indigenous food instead.

7. Check product labels and select the ones that say “BPA-Free.” Ask your retailer to offer BPA-free products.

-end-

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 329, Eagle Court Condominium
Matalino St.Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 441-1846
ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com

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