Sunday, December 5, 2010

That baby bottle may be dangerous

THE Save Babies Coalition (SBC) and EcoWaste Coalition yesterday urged President Aquino and Health Secretary Enrique Ona to take the initial steps in banning Bisphenol A (BPA) which has been blamed for causing developmental problems in children.

The chemical compound is used in plastic baby bottles.

The two groups urged Aquino and Ona to follow the lead of the European Union (EU) in issuing a ban on BPA in plastic baby bottles.

"We call upon the Aquino government to do the same in the greater interest of safeguarding our kids’ health," said Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste’s Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats).

Last week, the EU approved the ban in using chemical compound BPA in plastic baby bottles, effective March 2011 in its member countries.

Canada and the states of Connecticut and Minnesota had introduced policies banning BPA for public health and safety, especially for food and drink containers for children below three years.

Tests show that BPA can leach from the bottle into any liquid it contains, with potentially damaging results. It is believed to affect reproductive and development in young children, including disrupting the hormonal system.

The chemical is widely used in making hard, clear plastic and is commonly found in food and drink containers.

The EcoWaste and SBC also urged the government to consider imposing a total ban on BPA in all food packaging.

"Some companies have already switched to non-BPA linings for their products, so it’s possible to get BPA out of food packaging," the groups said.

According to the EU-based Health and Environmental Alliance (HEAL), the ban should be for "all food packaging for infants under 3 years old and it should quickly be extended to all food packaging because consumption by women of child-bearing age should be avoided."

"Babies during pregnancy must be protected," it added.

Since the ban on BPA is not yet in place, the Ecowaste and SBC advised consumers to take precaution to reduce exposure to BPA, including avoiding polycarbonate plastic containers.

The groups said the public should opt for safer alternatives such as glass, ceramics or stainless steel.

"Mothers should also breastfeed for six months and keep on breastfeeding for two years or more for the babies’ health benefits such as higher IQ, and emotional security," SBC’s Fernandez said.


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