Further hazards of bottle-feeding: Bisphenol A in plastic baby feeding bottles

 


Powdered formulas are not sterile products and can be contaminated by harmful bacteria such as Enterobacter sakazakii which can cause serious illness in infants. These bacteria are resistant to heat, and so, in order to reduce this risk to infant health, the FAO/ WHO Guidelines on safe preparation, storage and handling of powdered infant formula include a vital decontamination step: “Powdered formula should be prepared with water that is no cooler than 70°C (in order to kill Enterobacter sakazakii)”. This lethal step means first boiling the water to mix a feed and then cooling it to not less that 70°C before adding the powdered formula: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/micro/pif2007/en/


Pouring boiling water into some of the plastic feeding bottles on the market causes leaching of Bisphenol A

[1], or BPA, a chemical
used in polycarbonate plastic bottles to prevent the rigid transparent plastic from shattering. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic the body´s hormones and can thus interfere with the endocrine or hormonal system. This endocrine system regulates the development of the body´s immune and reproductive systems. Even at very low doses, a number of observations of adverse effects have been made in which endocrine disrupters could play a role, especially when exposure occurs at a time when babies are extremely vulnerable to chemicals. These effects are listed in the European Union Endocrine website: http://www.ec.europa.eu/environment/endocrine/definitions/affect_en.htm


The water to prepare the powdered formula should therefore be boiled and then left to cool to not less than 70°C before being poured into the baby´s feeding bottle. At the same time, BPA can be found in other items made of plastic such as drinking cups and beakers and plastic tableware. BPA is also used in the internal coating of tins of food, including of cans of powdered formulas. Read more…


FAO/WHO have announced their Joint expert meeting to review toxicological and health aspects of Bisphenol A to be held in Canada in October 2010: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/chem/chemicals/bisphenol/en/index.html. FAO and WHO have issued a Call for Data and a Call for Experts and the following link also provides access to the Infosan 2009 issue on Bisphenol A: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/fs_management/No_05_Bisphenol_A_Nov09_en.pdf