10 May 2013

Groups Laud DOH's Proposed Measure Banning BPA in Baby Feeding Bottles and Sippy Cups

Children’s health advocates gave the Department of Health (DOH) a pat on the back for initiating a consultative meeting yesterday for a long-awaited policy measure that will prohibit bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC), in baby feeding bottles and sippy cups.

The proposed DOH administrative order (A.O.) got a boost from Arugaan and the EcoWaste Coalition, which are actively seeking to uphold the right of every baby to breastmilk, “the first complete and Zero Waste food,” against false advertising and chemical pollution.  
The groups have long recommended to health authorities to impose a precautionary ban on BPA in baby food and beverage containers citing regulatory actions on BPA by dozens of countries to address growing consumers’ health and safety concerns.
Governments that have banned BPA in baby feeding bottles include the 27-nation European Union, Canada and USA in North America, South Africa, and Australia, China, Malaysia and Taiwan in Asia-Pacific.

“Banning BPA in baby bottles and cups is an important health milestone and we hope that everyone will throw their support behind its speedy approval and subsequent enforcement,” said Aileen Lucero, Acting National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We urge the DOH to consider a more robust and stringent policy that will ban BPA in baby milk powder and baby food containers to further cut childhood BPA exposure through food contact materials,” added Ines Fernandez, Coordinator, Arugaan.

Both groups are seeking a broader ban on BPA in baby food packaging to ensure that defenseless babies and children are adequately protected against exposure to a recognized EDC.

During the deliberations, Arugaan and EcoWaste representatives pushed for consumer right to information via uniform, visible and truthful product labels that will indicate if a product is BPA-free or not.

They expressed support for the inclusion of a provision that will disallow the substitution of BPA with alternatives that can also lead to adverse health effects.
The groups cited Senate Bill 3121 on BPA filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago stating that “manufacturers shall not replace BPA with substances that are known carcinogens, those that have carcinogenic potentials, likely carcinogens, known to be human carcinogens, likely to be human carcinogens, or suggestive of being carcinogens, and those with reproductive toxicants.”

The groups emphasized the primacy of protecting children’s health over profits as they stressed the need to apply the precautionary principle “to inform decisions about exposure to, and risk from, potential endocrine disruptors.”

They supported the immediate promulgation of the ban on BPA-containing baby feeding bottles and cups to ensure that non-compliant products are not imported and dumped into the country.
BPA, a chemical used to manufacture hard polycarbonate plastic containers, is widely used in clear plastic bottles and in food-can liners.

Studies have linked BPA exposure to reproductive, neurological and development disorders, as well as to heart disease, obesity and cancer.

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