12 January 2014

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes DOH-FDA to Ban Cancer-Causing BPA in Baby Feeding Bottles and Sippy Cups

(Image courtesy of Detskelahvegrafika)
The first ever study linking early exposure to Bisphenol A, a synthetic chemical, to prostate cancer later in life should compel health authorities to ban its use in childcare materials such as baby feeding bottles and sippy cups.

The EcoWaste Coalition revealed on Sunday that a US study published in “Endocrinonoly,” a medical journal, should push the Department of Health – Food and Drug Administration (DOH-FDA) to fast track the approval of an Administrative Order pending since May 2013 that will prohibit BPA in feeding bottles and drinking cups.

“The study, which links childhood exposure to BPA to prostate cancer, provides a compelling evidence why our health authorities should act with speed and join other countries that have taken precautionary actions against BPA.  We should not dilly dally when it comes to protecting our children’s health,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“If we don’t act now, surplus BPA-containing feeding bottles and sippy cups from China and Taiwan may all end up in the local market,” she added.

BPA, a compound used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, can interfere with natural hormones and damage human health, especially infants who are mainly sensitive to the effects of BPA, the group said.

The study by University of Illinois Prof. Gail Prins and colleagues shows that e
xposure to low levels of BPA A during development may make men more susceptible to the growth of cancerous cells in prostate tissue later in life.

Among the countries that have imposed restrictions on BPA, specifically by banning it in baby bottles, are Canada (in 2008), France (2010), the 27 member states of European Union (2011), China (2011), Malaysia (2012), South Africa (2012), USA (2012) and Taiwan (2013).

The EcoWaste Coalition also urged the government to consider a broader ban on BPA, citing the move taken by France to prohibit “the manufacture, import, export and commercialization of all forms of food packaging containing BPA” by 2015.

“Our push for a broader ban on the use of BPA in food packaging materials is in line with the precautionary principle, and informed by recent studies on BPA in baby food and in humans,” Lucero said.

For example, a 2010 study by the Chapaevsk Medical Association with support from Eco Accord and the International POPs Elimination Network determined the presence of BPA in 17 of 21 samples (81%) of baby food bought from 3 Russian cities (Chapaevsk, Moscow and Samara).

In 2013, Belgium started enforcing a ban on BPA in the packaging of food products for children less than three years of age and also in plastic articles like spoons and plates for the same age group, while Sweden has banned BPA in varnishes and coatings used in the packaging of food to children less than three years old.

To avoid BPA being replaced by equally harmful substances, the EcoWaste Coalition further urged the DOH-FDA to incorporate into the Administrative Order the following text as proposed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago in Senate Bill 3121, “An Act Prohibiting the Sale of Baby Food Products with BPA and Providing for Its Replacement with the Least Toxic Alternative”:

“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.”

A market monitoring by the EcoWaste Coalition last year indicated that baby feeding bottles and cups marked BPA-free or its equivalent language are available in most established retail outlets (e.g., Mercury Drug, Puregold, SM, South Star)  as well as in some discount stores.

However, the EcoWaste Coalition found numerous products bought from stores in Divisoria malls with zero information about their BPA content.

Out of 51 samples, 19 (37%) were labeled BPA-free and 32 (63%) had no indication of being BPA-free. 



2. Position Paper submitted by the EcoWaste Coalition in May 2013 supporting the ban on BPA in baby feeding bottles, sippy cups and food packaging materials.

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