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Canada bans infant plastic bottles

Ban on Plastic Infant Bottles: Plastic Bottles join Lead as being harmful to children

The Canadian government moved to ban polycarbonate infant bottles as it officially declared one of their chemical ingredients toxic, first action of its kind taken by any government against bisphenol-a, or B.P.A., a chemical that mimics a human hormone and that has induced long-term changes in animals exposed to it through tests.

David McNew/Getty Images –
Nalgene brand water bottles had used bisphenol-a,
which some studies in animals linked to hormonal changes.

The most immediate impact of the toxic designation will be a ban on the importation and sale of baby bottles made with clear, hard polycarbonate. That move will not take effect until the end of a 60-day discussion period, however.

After reviewing 150 research papers on B.P.A. and conducting its own studies, the health department concluded that B.P.A posed the most risk for newborns and children up to the age of 18 months. The health minister said that animal studies suggest “there will be behavioral and neural symptoms later in life.” It was reported further that not only are potentially unsafe exposure levels to B.P.A. lower for children than adults, Mr. Clement said that cleaning infant bottles with boiling (water) causes the release of the chemical into their contents.

He suggested that the government had planned to also ban the use of epoxies made with B.P.A. and sprayed into most infant formula cans as a lining. But, he added that no practical alternative is currently available.

On the other hand, current research showed that adults who use food and beverage containers made with B.P.A. related plastics were not at risk, today…

The government will, however, begin monitoring the B.P.A. exposure of 5,000 people between now and 2009. If research indicates a danger to adults, the government will take additional action, the officials said.

In addition to its concerns about infants and young children, the government said that its B.P.A. review found that even low levels of the chemical can harm fish and other aquatic life forms over time.

If the baby bottle ban takes effect on June 19 2008, an event that can only be derailed by significant new evidence, it may have little practical effect.

Nalgene, the company that turned polycarbonate bottles from a piece of lab equipment into a popular drink container, has also decided to drop the plastic and use others plastics that do not contain B.P.A.

In Washington on Friday, Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said in a statement that he intended to introduce a bill that would create a widespread ban on B.P.A.-related plastics. It would prohibit their use in all children’s products as well as any product use to carry food or beverages for adults.

Source: nytimesdotcom

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