05 August 2013

Beware of Toxic Baby Feeding Bottles (Adults Urged to Protect Babies from Toxic Hazards)

Children’s health advocates today cautioned mothers from using certain feeding bottles that may expose vulnerable babies to lead, a potent neurotoxin.

Public interest advocacy groups Arugaan and the EcoWaste Coalition jointly issued the warning after finding lead on the painted designs of some cheap baby bottles that are being sold by discount stores in Divisoria for P15 to P25 each.

Nine “made in China” feeding bottles marked “Baby Plastic Bottle & Nipple”were found to contain lead from 536 parts per million (ppm) to 1,023 ppm, as well as traces of arsenic and chromium above levels of concern.

The harmful chemicals were detected using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer, a device that can quantify toxic metals in consumer products and other media.

The groups made the warning in time for the yearly celebration of the World Breastfeeding Week on August 1 to 7 that is being coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and participated in by supporters from over 170 countries, including the Philippines.

“Mothers should be wary of feeding bottles laced with lead, bisphenol A, phthalates and other dangerous substances that can permanently harm a baby’s tender brain and body,” said Velvet Escario-Roxas of Arugaan and Breastfeeding Pinays.

“Babies have the birthright to breastmilk, the ideal nutrition for infants and young children and the first complete and zero waste food, as well as the right to safe childcare articles,” she emphasized.

Roxas added that working moms can breastfeed, too.

“They can handexpress their milk in the office. They have the right to 40-minute paid lactation breaks according to R.A. 10028, the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act. The caregivers can cupfeed their breastmilk while mom is away,”she said.

“Adults, especially parents, must ensure that babies are protected from exposures to chemical hazards in products as well as those in the environment,”added Aileen Lucero, Acting National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

Quoting from the World Health Organization’s publication “Children Are Not Little Adults,” Lucero reiterated that “it is the responsibility of today’s adults to identify hazards and conditions that impair children’s ability to grow and mature safely and in good health.”

Lead exposure interferes with the normal development of a child’s brain and nervous system, while arsenic and chromium (particularly hexavalent chromium) are known to be carcinogenic to humans, the groups warned.

The World Breastfeeding Week was first observed in 1992 to commemorate the Innocenti Declaration, a historic document adopted at the WHO/UNICEF policymakers' meeting on "Breastfeeding in the 1990s: A Global Initiative” held at the Spedale degli Innocenti, Florence, Italy.

According to the Innocenti Declaration, "breastfeeding is a unique process that provides ideal nutrition for infants and contributes to their healthy growth and development; reduces incidence and severity of infectious diseases, thereby lowering infant morbidity and mortality; contributes to women's health by reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and by increasing the spacing between pregnancies; provides social and economic benefits to the family and the nation.”

-end-

Reference:

www.who.int/ceh/capacity/Children_are_not_little_adults.pdf
http://www.unicef.org/programme/breastfeeding/innocenti.htm

worldbreastfeedingweek.org/

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