EcoWaste Coalition Pushes DOH-FDA to Ban Cancer-Causing BPA in Baby Feeding Bottles and Sippy Cups

(Image courtesy of Detskelahvegrafika)
The first
ever study linking early exposure to Bisphenol A, a synthetic chemical, to prostate
cancer later in life should compel health authorities to ban its use in
childcare materials such as baby feeding bottles and sippy cups.

The EcoWaste Coalition revealed on Sunday that a US study published in “Endocrinonoly,”
a medical journal, should push the Department of Health – Food and Drug
Administration (DOH-FDA) to fast track the approval of an Administrative Order
pending since May 2013 that will prohibit BPA in feeding bottles and drinking cups.

“The study,
which links childhood exposure to BPA to prostate cancer, provides a compelling
evidence why our health authorities should act with speed and join other
countries that have taken precautionary actions against BPA.  We should not dilly dally when it comes to
protecting our children’s health,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator,
EcoWaste Coalition.

“If we don’t act now, surplus BPA-containing feeding bottles and sippy cups from
China and Taiwan may all end up in the local market,” she added.

BPA, a compound used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy
resins, can interfere with natural hormones and damage human health, especially
infants who are mainly sensitive to the effects of BPA, the group said.

The study by University of Illinois Prof. Gail Prins and colleagues shows that exposure to
low levels of BPA A during development may make men more susceptible to the
growth of cancerous cells in prostate tissue later in life.

Among the countries that have imposed restrictions on BPA, specifically by banning
it in baby bottles, are Canada (in 2008), France (2010), the 27 member states
of European Union (2011), China (2011), Malaysia (2012), South Africa (2012),
USA (2012) and Taiwan (2013).

The EcoWaste Coalition also urged the government to consider a broader ban on
BPA, citing the move taken by France to prohibit “the manufacture, import,
export and commercialization of all forms of food packaging containing BPA” by

“Our push for a broader ban on the use of BPA in food packaging materials is in
line with the precautionary principle, and informed by recent studies on BPA in
baby food and in humans,” Lucero said.

For example, a
2010 study by the Chapaevsk Medical Association with support from Eco Accord
and the International POPs Elimination Network determined the presence of BPA
in 17 of 21 samples (81%) of baby food bought from 3 Russian cities (Chapaevsk,
Moscow and Samara).

In 2013,
Belgium started enforcing a ban on BPA in the packaging of food products for
children less than three years of age and also in plastic articles like spoons
and plates for the same age group, while Sweden has banned BPA in varnishes and
coatings used in the packaging of food to children less than three years old.

To avoid BPA being replaced by equally harmful substances, the EcoWaste Coalition
further urged the DOH-FDA to incorporate into the Administrative Order the
following text as proposed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago in Senate Bill 3121,
“An Act Prohibiting the Sale of Baby Food Products with BPA and Providing for
Its Replacement with the Least Toxic Alternative”:

shall not replace BPA with substances that are known carcinogens, those that
have carcinogenic potentials, likely carcinogens, known to be human
carcinogens, likely to be human carcinogens, or suggestive of  being carcinogens, and those with
reproductive toxicants.”

A market monitoring by the EcoWaste Coalition last year indicated that baby
feeding bottles and cups marked BPA-free or its equivalent language are
available in most established retail outlets (e.g., Mercury Drug, Puregold, SM,
South Star)  as well as in some discount

However, the
EcoWaste Coalition found numerous products bought from stores in Divisoria
malls with zero information about their BPA content.

Out of 51
samples, 19 (37%) were labeled BPA-free and 32 (63%) had no indication of being



2. Position Paper submitted by the EcoWaste Coalition in May 2013 supporting
the ban on BPA in baby feeding bottles, sippy cups and food packaging
3. http://www.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=15&q=SBN-3121