28 January 2015

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes DOH to Ban Hazardous Chemical in Baby Feeding Bottles and Sippy Cups

A public interest group promoting chemical safety and public health today pressed the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to release a long-pending Administrative Order banning Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby feeding bottles and sippy cups.

BPA is a synthetic compound used in polycarbonate plastic.  A recognized endocrine disrupting chemical, BPA has been linked to various health problems such as asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, infertility, erectile dysfunction, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and breast and prostate cancers, even at low doses of exposure.

In a letter sent to the DOH, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to Acting Secretary Janette Garin “to hasten the issuance of the proposed DOH Administrative Order entitled the “Prohibition on the Manufacture, Importation, Advertisement and Sale of Polycarbonate Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups Containing Bisphenol A in the Philippines.”  The first policy draft was made publicly available in May 2013.

As early as July 2010, the EcoWaste Coalition has been urging the health authorities to impose a precautionary ban on BPA starting with children’s products such as baby feeding bottles due to the mounting concern about the adverse effects of exposure to BPA on human health.

“The EcoWaste Coalition is deeply concerned with the lamentable delay in issuing the said Administrative Order in light of increased global concern over human exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) and the string of scientific studies validating such concern,” wrote Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“Our country’s lack of technical capacity to analyze baby feeding bottles and sippy cups for BPA content should not stop the government from moving ahead with the precautionary ban, an essential measure to safeguard children’s health,” he said.

Dizon emphasized that the burden of proving that baby feeding bottles and sippy cups are safe from BPA rests with their manufacturers, importers and distributors.

The EcoWaste Coalition noted that over 30 states have already banned BPA, particularly in baby feeding bottles, such as in Canada, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Africa, USA and the 28-country European Union, with France banning BPA in all food contact materials in 2015.  China, the country’s largest trading partner, banned BPA in baby feeding bottles way back in June 2011.

In their letter to Garin, the group informed the health official that the EcoWaste Coalition, along with over 50 non-government and civil society organizations, had twice sent a petition to the DOH and FDA in April 2013 and January 2014 for the banning of BPA in baby feeding containers.

The group noted that Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has proposed the “BPA In Baby Products Prohibition Act” (SBN 395), while Representatives Rufus Rodriguez and Angelina Tan have filed similar bills (HB 4234 and HB 2340, respectively) at the House of Representatives.

“As a medical doctor and as the highest health official of our country, the health and safety of Filipino children is certainly among your top priorities.  We therefore respectfully urge you to take
action now against BPA, starting with a prohibition on its use in baby feeding bottles and sippy cups,” the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

As we seek the ban on BPA in baby feeding bottles and sippy cups, we wish to restate our stance to “defend the right of every baby to mother’s milk, the first complete and Zero Waste food, from the direct assault of deceptive advertising and promotion of artificial breastfeeding and chemical pollution,” the group told Garin.

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