Thursday, July 30, 2009
Health Canada Finds BPA in 'BPA Free Bottles'
Health Canada scientists have found bisphenol A leaching into the liquid of plastic baby bottles marketed to parents as being free of the toxic chemical.
The study says "traces" of the toxin were found in "BPA-free" bottles while internal correspondence between a department official and the lead scientist went further, characterizing the amounts in two brands as "high readings."
Manufacturers of non-polycarbonate plastic baby bottles, however, were quick to challenge the "shocking" results, saying there must be a problem with the way the agency conducted the research.
Government scientists conducted the tests on non-polycarbonate bottles last year after Health Canada announced an imminent ban on polycarbonate plastic baby bottles.
By then, the market had already been flooded with "BPA-free" alternatives made of substitute plastics without any bisphenol A, which were pitched as an option for parents concerned about the health risks associated with the newly labelled toxin.
Bisphenol A, a hormone disrupter that can cause reproductive damage and may lead to prostate and breast cancer in adulthood, is used as a building block in polycarbonate plastic, but not in the substitutes, such as polypropylene.
The test results surprised Health Canada scientists involved, according to records released to Canwest News Service under the Access to Information Act.
"This bottle is labelled polypropylene which should contain no BPA," the lead scientist wrote to a colleague, recommending another analysis be done to "verify the claim" and "check more samples."
The brand mentioned in the correspondence is blacked out on the grounds that the information could result in financial loss or prejudice the competitive advantage of a company.
In separate correspondence, a Health Canada official wrote to the scientist — under the subject heading "Migration of Bisphenol A from 'BPA Free' Baby Bottles and Liners" — to thank him for other results.
"We would definitely like to do a material characterization for the two brands with high readings and would also like to test the other brands too at the same time."
Health Canada tested about nine different brands of baby bottles using non-polycarbonate plastic for possible leaching of BPA, chosen because they're made with a type of plastic that does not use the chemical as a building block.
Researchers suggest the "traces of BPA found to migrate from these bottles could be artifacts of the manufacturing process."
And since these "BPA-free" bottles leached less than polycarbonate plastic bottles under conditions designed to simulate repeated normal use, the government researchers concluded these bottles made of polysulfone, polystyrene or polypropylene (non-PC) are a "reasonable alternative" to the banned polycarbonate (PC) bottles.
University of Missouri's Frederick vom Saal, a leading researcher into bisphenol A and other endocrine disrupters, said Health Canada's test results are a "wake-up" call for bottle manufacturers and consumers.
BPA Free Bottle manufacturers came out swinging saying there's no way their bottles leach any amount of bisphenol A, even in trace amounts.
BornFree Canada president Tony Ferraro echoed this sentiment, saying several independent tests have all found "no detection" of the chemical in his company's bottles.
"It is extremely difficult to comprehend otherwise" because bisphenol A is not contained or added to the resin or additives during the manufacturing practice," said Ferraro. "I can conclude with 100 per cent accuracy and confidence that any possibility of trace amounts of bisphenol A in BornFree products is unlikely and impossible."I personally feel that the brand's that had 'high readings' should be disclosed if more tests find the same results. In many cases, BPA Free bottles are more expensive than their polycarbonate counterparts. Consumers shouldn't be duped into raising company's profits if they're not getting a safer product for their babies.
The sad part is that parents trust what is being marketed to them, especially when harmful chemicals are involved because we have no way of proving if a product is organic, BPA free or non toxic. SOURCE