15 Jul 11 SA to ban bisphenol A in baby bottles
This news escaped FSA’s radar at the time… on March 25, 2011, the Department of Health issued a draft regulation to ban the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles. Draft regulation (R249) under the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, 1972, aims to prohibit “The Manufacturing, Importation, Exportation And Sale Of Polycarbonate Infant Feeding Bottles Containing Bisphenol A”. Interesed parties had three months (to June 25) to submit comments.
It’s not yet clear when the regulation will be promulgated. Download the regulation here
In May China became the latest country to outlaw the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles, effective in September.
Meanwhile, baby bottles containing BPA had to be removed from the shelves in stores across the European Union on June 1, 2011, as a ban on their sale and import into the EU came into force. The ban is part of an EU directive (2011/8/EU) adopted in late January, albeit the industry had been voluntarily withdrawing baby bottles containing BPA from the market. On March 1, the EU had banned the manufacture in the Union of baby bottles containing BPA.
John Dalli, Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, said: “June 1 is a milestone in our efforts to better protect the health of EU citizens, in particular the health of our children. Due to the fact that there are uncertainties concerning the effect of the exposure of infants to Bisphenol A, the Commission deemed it both necessary and appropriate to take action. The aim is to further reduce the exposure of the most vulnerable part of our population – infants.”
BPA is a monomer used in the manufacture of polycarbonate bottles. Traces of BPA can be released from plastic containers into the food they carry – infant formula in the case of baby bottles – if these containers are heated at high temperatures.
During the first six months of the infants’ lives, exposure to the substance is the highest, especially if infant formula is the only source of nutrition. Also, during this period the infants’ system builds up and does not have the capacity to eliminate BPA.
BPA’s continued use in food contact materials remains a source of ongoing debate as it has been linked with serious health problems – including cancer, birth defects and heart disease.
However, major food safety agencies across the globe – including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – have declared it poses no health hazards at current levels.
The European Commission asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to assess the new scientific evidence and EFSA delivered its opinion in September 2010. It concluded that BPA is safe up to a daily intake of 0.05 miligrams per kilo of bodyweight. The exposure of all groups of the population is below this limit. However, EFSA also raised some questions about the possible impact of BPA on infants, and concluded that more robust data on the areas of uncertainty are needed.