Campaign for Removal of BPA from British Baby Bottles
On the 30th of November 2009, an Early Day Motion, BISPHENOL A AND BABY BOTTLES, was submitted for debate in the House of Commons. Breast Cancer UK has published a letter to Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, from a group of scientists backing its No More BPA Campaign. This was supported with the results of its survey of 2000 adults showing that 79 per cent agreed that “it is important that the UK Government acts in a precautionary way when it comes to protecting babies and very young children from BPA”.
The Canadian Government and bottle manufacturers in the United States have already taken action to remove BPA from baby bottles. However, The Food Standard Agency considers exposure of UK consumers to bisphenol A (BPA) to be well below levels considered harmful.
The FSA “has estimated that a three-month-old bottle-fed baby that weighs around 6 kg would need to consume more than four times the usual number of bottles of baby formula a day before it would reach the tolerable daily amount. This amount that can be eaten every day, over a whole lifetime, without causing appreciable harm.”
So, what does Mindful Mum think…
Mindful Mum believes that the FSA is missing a vital factor in their analysis – parent behaviour!
It appears that the FSA analysis is based on the parent waiting 30 minutes before adding the boiled water to the plastic baby bottle.
- In practice the behaviour of parents making up the formula is ‘unlikely’ to follow the exact instructions on milk formula cartons or the current FSA advice.
- In reality, most parents who have a baby screaming for milk at 2.30 am in the morning are unlikely to wait the required 30 minutes.
- The more ‘likely’ behaviour is that they add the boiling hot water directly into the baby bottle, spoon in the required formula, shake and cool in a bowl of cold water.
- Furthermore, I know many mum’s that heat their bottle in the microwave
The British Government should ban bisphenol a (BPA) because it is widely known to leach out of plastic bottles at high temperatures. Boiling water causes BPA to leave from bottles levels 55 times faster than normal temperatures. In practice many British consumers will be adding boiling water to polycarbonate baby bottles. We do not know if the FSA analysis uses new bottles or older bottles. The difference could be significant as scratched or worn bottles can leach up to nearly double that of new bottles.
Mindful Mum supports the ‘No More BPA’ campaign led by Breast Cancer UK and backed by the NCT, UNISON, the Women’s Environmental Network, the Cancer Prevention and Education Society and CHEM Trust; and urges the Government to introduce regulations to end the use of BPA in baby bottles sold in the UK.
Please share with Mindful Mum how you make up your baby’s bottle using the poll on Mindful Mum. This will help us to understand how parents behaviour may or may not differ from the guidelines provided by the FSA.
Why is it important for the UK Government to Ban BPA?
The FSA advice for parents is not to pour boiling liquid directly into bottles, not to microwave them or use scratched or worn ones.
These guidelines may prevent BPA from leaching into baby milk formula in theory. However, in practice, consumer behaviour is likely to be different and by not banning BPA the government is putting babies at risk from the known endocrine disruptor, bisphenol a (BPA).
- Hundreds of studies and evaluations published in peer-reviewed medical journals have raised consistent and compelling concerns about the potential impact of low level exposure of this chemical.
- The Environmental Health Perspectives Journal in March 2009 published a letter from 36 of the world’s leading scientific experts on BPA, criticising the European Food Safety Authority for relying predominantly on two outdated studies funded by the chemicals industry and saying that its decisions based on this logic are misguided and will result in continued risk to public health from exposure to BPA.
- Babies in their first year have not fully developed the ability to clear BPA from their bodies as quickly as adults.
- Bisphenol A, is a potentially toxic chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic bottles. Scientists and health activists are concerned about its effects because animal studies show that BPA can interfere with the development and cause irreversible damage. BPA has interfered with the development of every system in which it has been tested. The earlier the exposure, the greater the damage. Accumulating laboratory evidence suggests that exposure to BPA could be linked to breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, and autism.