02 March 2011

Toxic Watchdog Calls on P-Noy to Follow EU Ban on BPA-Laced Baby Bottles

A non-governmental organization campaigning for chemical safety has asked President Benigno S. Aquino III (P-Noy) to initiate the recall of baby feeding bottles containing bisphenol A (BPA), a toxic substance.

The EcoWaste Coalition urged P-Noy to direct the removal of toxic baby bottles from store shelves following a historic action by the European Union to prohibit the manufacture of baby bottles with BPA starting March 1, 2011.

Under the European Commission Directive 2011/8/EU, member states shall prohibit from March 1, 2011 the manufacture of BPA-containing baby bottles, as well as prohibit from June 1, 2011 the placing on the EU market of BPA-added plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs.

“We call upon P-Noy to follow the EU example and waste no time in banning BPA-laced baby bottles from being produced and traded in the country,” said breastfeeding advocate Velvet Roxas of Arugaan, a Steering Committee member of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“P-Noy, just like the Europeans, can invoke the precautionary principle in justifying tough action against BPA to protect helpless babies and toddlers from being exposed to this substance,” she emphasized.

“Simultaneous with the recall of BPA baby bottles, we beg for a more vigorous promotion of breastfeeding to ensure infant access to breastmilk, the most complete and ecological baby food,” she added.

BPA is an industrial chemical widely used in the production of polycarbonate plastics, which are then used to produce plastic products (marked on the bottom with letters "PC" or number "7") such as infant feeding bottles, water bottles and food containers

Health experts and activists, the EcoWaste Coalition said, are concerned about the adverse effects of BPA, which can leach out of plastic products when heated.

A known endocrine disruptor, BPA can imitate or interfere with natural hormone functions and potentially harm the development of young children.

Last Friday, the European Commission (EC) in a press release said that “small amounts of BPA can be released from plastic containers into the food they carry –in the case of baby bottles that would be infant formula– if these containers are heated at high temperatures.”

“The infants' system is still building up to eliminate BPA during the first six months of their lives. Their exposure to the substance is the highest during this period especially if infant formula is their only source of nutrition as this is administered through baby bottles,” the EC stated.

In the said press release, the Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy John Dalli said: "March 1 represents a landmark in our efforts to protect better the health of EU citizens, in particular when it comes to our children."

The EC acted on the basis of precautionary principle, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed, given the continuing debates on the safety of BPA, its health effects and at what levels of exposure these can occur.

As explained under the EC Directive 2011/8/EU, “the Commission is entitled to take a preventive measure regarding the use of BPA in polycarbonate infant feeding bottles on the basis of the precautionary principle which is applicable in a situation in which there is scientific uncertainty, even if the risk, notably to human health, has not yet been fully demonstrated. “

“Thus, it is necessary and appropriate for the achievement of the basic objective of ensuring a high level of human health protection to obviate sources of danger to physical and mental health that may be caused to infants by BPA exposure through feeding bottles,” the Directive said.

-end-


References:

European Commission Press Release, 25 February 2011:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/229&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en


European Commission Directive 2011/8/EU, 28 January 2011:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:026:0011:0014:EN:PDF

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