BABY bottles containing the chemical Bisphenol A should be banned because there is “compelling” evidence linking it to breast cancer risk, British campaigners, scientists and health charities said.
The chemical, known as BPA, is widely used in plastics and has been a growing concern for scientists in other countries like Canada and the United States, where food and drug regulators are examining its safety.
The Breast Cancer UK charity urged the British Government to ban plastic baby bottles made with BPA.
And a group of scientists from universities across the country wrote to Health Secretary Andy Burnham urging the Government to be “consistent with the approach taken by other governments who have ended the use of BPA in food contact products marketed at children”.
BPA, which is also used to stiffen plastic bottles and line cans, belongs to a broad class of compounds called endocrine disruptors.
The US Endocrine Society called in June for better studies into BPA and presented research showing the chemical can affect the hearts of women and permanently damage the DNA of mice.
Vyvyan Howard of Ulster University’s biomedical sciences research institute said too little was known about BPA’s potential harm, and babies in particular should be protected.
“Babies in their first year have not fully developed the ability to clear BPA from their bodies as quickly as adults,” he said.
“Their hormonal systems are also more susceptible to subtle changes that could have an impact on their long-term risks of developing cancer and other chronic conditions.
“Ending the use of BPA in baby bottles would be a sensible and proportionate response to our current level of scientific understanding.”
Breast Cancer UK issued a statement saying there was now “clear and compelling scientific evidence” from lab experiments that linked “even low-level exposure to increased risk of breast cancer and other chronic conditions”.
It published a survey of more than 2000 British adults which found that around 80 per cent of people want the Government to act against BPA.
The charity said it expected the Canadian government to introduce a regulatory ban on the advertising, sale and importing of baby bottles containing BPA by the end of the year and said manufacturers had already withdrawn such bottles from sale in anticipation of that ban and expected US action.
Source: Reuters in Heraldsun.com.au, December 01 2009