Scientists want ban on chemical’s use in baby products
A chemical linked to breast cancer, heart disease, obesity and hyperactivity should be banned from baby food containers and bottles, a coalition of leading scientists has said.
By Ben Leach
Published:08 Apr 2010
In a letter published in The Independent newspaper, the experts from Britain, the US and Italy called on the Government to stop bisphenol-A (BPA) being used in any plastic packaging for baby products following a growing body of evidence that it is harmful.
Their call comes after Denmark became the first European country to prohibit the use of BPA in food containers for children under the age of three.
Canada and three US states also brought in bans and France is considering introducing one. However, Britain’s Food Standards Agency and the European Food Safety Authority so far resisted calls for a ban.
The scientists, who are leading toxicologists and cancer specialists studying the effects of BPA, said the Government should force manufacturers to use alternative plastics.
They wrote: „To protect vulnerable populations, we believe it would be both prudent and precautionary in public health terms if products containing BPA used for baby and children’s food and liquid packaging in the UK were withdrawn.
„BPA should be replaced by less hazardous substances.”
Recent studies contributed fresh evidence suggesting BPA is potentially dangerous.
One, a paper from the University of Michigan, found that endocrine disruptors, including BPA, have a harmful impact on men’s reproduction, development and metabolism.
Professor Andrew Watterson, a signatory to the letter, who works at the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group at the University of Stirling, said: „These new studies are significant because they all indicate and confirm the growing body of evidence that suggests BPA is harmful even in minute doses.
„The vast majority of scientific studies in the past year or so have confirmed our concerns about BPA which is why we are in favour of a precautionary and preventative approach to its use.
„Until we know more about the harm it could be doing we should stop using it.”
Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the Food Standards Agency, said: „We will always base our advice to consumers on the best available scientific evidence. Independent scientific experts advise that current levels of exposure to BPA are not harmful.
„The European Food Safety Authority review concluded that low-dose effects of BPA in rodents have not been demonstrated in a robust and reproducible way, and so cannot be used as pivotal studies for risk assessment.
„EFSA is currently reviewing more recent research in this area and the UK is actively involved in this. We keep our advice to consumers under constant review.”