STOP PRESS: Brazil, China, Malaysia and now the USA follow the EU with bans on BPA in feeding bottles and infant food containers
USA bans BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, but not in all food contact materials for children
The US Food and Drugs Administration, FDA, issued a decision on July 17 2012 that Bisphenol A, “an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical “, should not be contained in plastic baby feeding bottles and children’s drinking cups. This FDA decision does not apply to the use of BPA in other containers, including containers of baby formula. .
The FDA has said that its decision came in response to the request by the American Chemical Council, the ACC, for a ruling that BPA be phased out. The ACC, a trade group for the chemical and plastics industry, explained that its request aimed to boost consumer confidence.
The FDA said that the decision was not a reversal of its earlier position in 2008, which then declared BPA safe. However, concerns about possible health risks resurfaced in 2010 when the FDA said that it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behaviour and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children”. Many of the States, Counties and cities in the US have already banned BPA from children’s products.
Sweden bans BPA in packaging of food for children under the age of 3
From early 2013 the use of BPA will be banned in all jars, feeding bottles and infant formula containers and packaging for food and drinks for children under the age of 3. Sweden has not gone as far as France, which planned to prohibit BPA in all food packaging by early 2014. However, several EU Member States objected to this proposed French ban. The UK said that the French ban would introduce a significant barrier to trade. Sweden’s Environment Minister criticised the EU for not doing enough to limit use of BPA: “The EU should take more far-reaching initiatives than today to limit children’s exposure to BPA and other known endocrine disruptors. I intend to raise the issue with the European Commission and the Member States this spring when we discuss the contents of the EU’s next Environmental Action Programme”.
Has the EU already taken note of Swedish criticism?
The European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, is due to evaluate the hypothesis that BPA has effects even at low doses. International experts will meet in Parma, Italy, on June 14-15 2012 to evaluate the evidence of effects on rodents of low doses of BPA, and the relevance to human health. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are active substances which can alter the hormonal system of the human body. They mimic female hormones and can affect organisms, even at minute doses. They act in a different way from poisons, for which the response in an organism is proportionate to the dose: “The dose makes the poison”. The “toxic cocktail” of chemicals, that is the interactions of several chemicals at low doses, is a further serious problem to be addressed.
Infants and young children are at a most vulnerable stage of their development. IBFAN has therefore submitted to EFSA the written Submission to the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting to review toxicological and health aspects of Bisphenol A, as prepared by IBFAN’s Global Working Group.
The report of the FAO/WHO Stakeholder Meeting is contained in annex 3 of the full Report of the Expert Meeting.
This report includes the need for further research as called for by IBFAN.
Brazil adopts Resolution prohibiting the manufacture and import of polycarbonate plastic baby feeding bottles containing Bisphenol A: The official text of the Resolution of the
National Watchdog Agency for Health and Safety gives companies 3 months to stop using
BPA in the manufacture of plastic baby feeding bottles. By 31 December, BPA-containing bottles must no longer be sold or imported and from 2012 all unsold products must be withdrawn. There is a fine of between 2000 and 1,5 million Brazilian R$. The ban on BPA
may be extended to other packaging.
Resolution RDC No- 41, of September 16 2011 prohibits the manufacture and import of
baby bottles for feeding infants containing the substance bisphenol A [2,2-bis (4-hydroxyphenyl) propane, CAS 000080-05-7] in their composition. Manufacturers and importers will have 90 (ninety) days from the date of this resolution for compliance with the above provisions. Products manufactured or imported before September 16 may be marketed until 31 December 2011. Non-compliance with the provisions of this Resolution constitutes a health and safety offence under Law No 6437 of 20 August 1977, without prejudice to civil, administrative and criminal sanctions. This resolution entered into force on the date of its publication.
France has now followed Denmark in implementing the European Commission Directive: both countries have gone further than the EU and are extending the ban on Bisphenol A in baby feeding bottles to all food containers and contact materials. On 12 October 2011 the French National Assembly voted in favour of banning the manufacture, import, export and marketing of any food packaging containing BPA. The ban will come into force on 1 January 2013 for packaging of food for children under 3, and on 1 January 2014 for all other food packaging. The law now needs to go through the French legislative process and the first stage is discussion and adoption in the Senate. However, an information campaign is already being organised in October 2011 to distribute 800’000 brochures about BPA to pregnant and breastfeeding women.
European Union ban: On 1 March 2011 the first part of the ban on the manufacture of baby feeding bottles containing BPA came into force. The sale and marketing of such bottles will be banned from 1 June 2011. The EU Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy said “March 1st represents a landmark in our efforts to better protect the health of EU citizens, in particular when it comes to our children following the precautionary principle … the aim is to further reduce the exposure of the most vulnerable part of our population – the infants – to the substance BPA, thus safeguarding their health”.
China announces ban on BPA bottles: The Ministry of Health and five government bodies in China have announced an end to production of baby feeding bottles containing BPA as from 1 June 2011. Producers of bottles containing polycarbonates or BPA should recall all such products in line with the ban: they are not allowed to use these recalled products to make other packaging. When the regulation was released, the Ministry changed the phrase “infant food containers” into “infant nursing bottles”. Health authorites are concerned that heating baby milk in polycarbonate plastic bottles increases the risk of BPA leaching into the milk.
From 1 September 2011 it will be illegal to sell or import any baby feeding bottles containing BPA. Local food inspectors will be urged to increase surveillance to ensure compliance.
Malaysian ban on BPA bottles: On 15 March 2011 the Malaysian government announced a ban on polycarbonate bottles containing BPA. The Minister of Health said the decision to ban these feeding bottles was taken “due to BPA’s risk to infant hormone systems”. Enforcement will be made in stages and industry must comply by 1 March 2012.
Philippines action: To mark March 15, Consumer Rights Day, the Ecowaste Coalition organised a conference on Children’s Health and Chemical Safety. Arugaan, IBFAN’s group in the Philippines, is a board member of the Ecowaste Coalition and of the Save the Babies Coalition which are organising events to call for precautionary action to protect babies from potential toxic contamination from BPA in polycarbonate feeding bottles.
China has launched research to assess the possible health impacts of the chemical BPA in infant food containers. The Ministry of Health called for public comment on a draft list of substances in food packages. This includes BPA, listed in the draft as banned from utensils in direct contact with baby food.
EUROPEAN UNION BANS USE OF BPA IN FEEDING BOTTLES.
In January 2011, the European Commission announced a ban from 2011 on the use of the chemical Bisphenol A, BPA, in feeding bottles for babies. This is a long-awaited response to increasing global concern over the adverse effects of BPA on the development of the nervous, immune and reproductive systems in infants and young children
Canada is the first country to officially classify BPA as a toxic substance. In 2008, Canada was also the first country to ban the import, sale and advertising of plastic feeding bottles containing BPA. In October 2010, Canadian Health and Environment Ministries said scientific studies showed that the chemical may be harmful to human health and to the environment. The decision to classify BPA as toxic was taken after 2 years of deliberation in the face of intense opposition from industry.
The European Commission announced in November 2010 that the ban on the manufacturing of baby bottles containing BPA would enter into force in March 2011, and the ban on their import and sale in June 2011.
Denmark and France were until March 2011 the only countries in the European Union that have unilaterally imposed bans on baby bottles containing BPA.
Denmark’s ban on BPA also covers materials in contact with food for children aged 0-3 years. Infants and young children have the highest exposure to BPA.
IBFAN is campaigning with concerned NGOs to extend the EU ban on BPA to all packaging and materials in contact with food for infants under 3 years old.
In Costa Rica, the National Breastfeeding Committee successfully requested a ban on the toxic substance BPA contained in polycarbonate plastic feeding bottles. The prohibition entered into force in April 2010. Health officials remind that breastmilk is the best food for babies and that nothing replaces it.