Why is Bisphenol A (BPA) such a toxic chemical ?
In 2008 Canada was the first country to officially classify BPA as « toxic to reproduction ». The European Union also recently classified BPA as a ‘presumed reproductive toxicant’. BPA is one of the industrially-produced chemicals called endocrine disrupting chemicals, EDCs, named because they impersonate the natural hormones which regulate the development of the functions of our bodies, including reproduction. BPA mimics the female hormone estrogen and thus acts like an artificial hormone in our bodies, causing altered hormone levels which can affect male fertility.
Where is BPA found ?
BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic feeding bottles and utensils used for babies and young children, as well as in the epoxy resin linings of tin cans and some kettles. This means that babies fed formula may ingest BPA from several sources during a vulnerable stage of their development. Breastfed babies are not exposed to this risk. This is one further reason why the protection and promotion of breastfeeding is a social responsibility; all of us, governments, employers, media and families should support mothers in every way so that they can breastfeed their babies.
Why is it so difficult to regulate the use of BPA ?
For the past ten years, IBFAN has followed the debate between research scientists and those agencies which are supposed to regulate the safety of our food. We have seen how regulatory measures have been stalled, as was the case in Canada for over 2 years, by intense opposition from the chemicals and plastics manufacturing industries.
The result is a series of piecemeal measures in different countries, all showing wide divergence in scope and implementation. Independent studies increasingly document the risks of ingestion of BPA in food contact materials by future parents as well as their children. IBFAN joins the call for legislation to control BPA, EDCs and other toxic chemicals in our environment through legally binding international instruments such as a Framework Convention on Chemicals Control, similar to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Why do we need an International Convention that can be ratified, implemented and monitored ?
The article ‘Widespread ingestion of packaging chemical revealed’ : http://www.scidev.net/global/health/news/ingestion-packaging-chemical-revealed.html provides evidence of how people in poorer countries such as Ghana face the same risks from exposure to BPA as those in the so-called richer countries. In Cameroon and Nigeria plastic baby bottles are still imported and sold, thus increasing likely exposure among African children : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24602914
This article lists many countries that have already taken regulatory action. They include Argentina, Brazil, Italy, South Africa and Taiwan, as well as others listed in the section of IBFAN’s website on chemical contamination :
For a comprehensive summary of all the reasons why we need to create a world free of toxic chemicals such as BPA, see Unsafe at any Dose? Diagnosing Chemical Safety Failures, from DDT to BPA by Jonathan Latham, PhD: