Experts Demand European Action on Plastics Chemical

Earlier this week, the Planet Ark web site reported that a group of 60 scientists and health campaigners from 15 countries told the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in an open letter that they feared exposure to the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) could damage health, particularly amongst vulnerable groups such as babies and pregnant women.

BPA is a chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics and found in plastic food and drink packaging such as baby bottles and sports bottles.  BPA is also found in canned food and drinks and storage containers as an epoxy resin.

Some scientific studies have linked BPA exposure to higher risks of health problems such heart disease, breast cancer and diabetes.

Regulators in Canada and the United States are beginning to take action on BPA exposure, with Canada planning to ban its use in baby bottles, but, as yet, there has been no similar action at an EU level.  Some European countries – Denmark, France, Germany and Sweden for example – have made unilateral moves ahead of the EFSA review.

BPA Use in Baby Bottles

Breast Cancer UK launched a campaign in December 2009 calling for a ban on the use of BPA in baby bottles

Back in November 2009, the Ecologist published an article, FSA ‘ignoring’ evidence on baby bottle chemical bisphenol-A, about how health campaigners had criticised the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for dismissing evidence about the impact of BPA on human health, particularly younger children.

According to the Ecologist’s article, an FSA spokeswoman said:

“The European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) has said it will be looking at bisphenol-A again because of pressure from two European member states – Denmark and Belgium.  We don’t know what this will entail – if another review of the evidence then there won’t be much new to consider that has come to light since 2007″

The same article, however, reports that Clare Dimmer, the Chair of Trustees at Breast Cancer UK, said:

“A significant number of studies on BPA have been published since 2007 [my emphasis] that point to potential adverse health effects from BPA, but the FSA point about a lack of scientific evidence is disingenuous as there is over a decade’s worth of scientific evidence on the low dosage effects of BPA that they just ignored [my emphasis].”

David M. Davison

PS Yesterday the Ecologist published an article, A guide to plastics in the kitchen, which, amongst other things, lists the safer plastics and the plastics to avoid (which includes BPA).


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