Toronto –A harmful chemical found in some 90 per cent of plastic baby bottles sold in Canada leaches into the infant formula, milk or other liquids being drunk by babies, according to a new study released today by Environmental Defence. The chemical, bisphenol A, is a known hormone disruptor and is associated with adverse health effects, including breast and prostate cancer, early puberty in girls, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and obesity.
The study, Toxic Baby Bottles in Canada: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular Brands of Polycarbonate Baby Bottles, found bisphenol A leaches at significant levels from plastic baby bottles when they are heated. Lab results found leaching of bisphenol A with a range of 5-8 ng/ml (parts per billion) among the bottles tested. Recent scientific research shows that bisphenol A can be harmful at doses below the levels found in the study.
“Clearly, we are putting our babies’ health at risk by using brand name plastic baby bottles,” said Dr. Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence. “The federal government must act immediately by banning bisphenol A from baby bottles and other food and beverage containers.”
Three major brands of bottles were tested in Canada – Gerber, Avent and Playtex. Lab results show the highest level of leaching from the Avent brand baby bottles. Playtex brand baby bottles had the lowest level of leaching. Significantly, levels of bisphenol A leaching increased exponentially when the bottles were heated, with the Avent brand bottles showing the highest concentration.
“As parents, learning about which products are unsafe and choosing healthy and safe alternatives is the first step towards protecting our children and families from toxic chemicals like bisphenol A. Ultimately, we need our provincial and federal government to step up because these toxic products shouldn’t even be on store shelves for an unsuspecting parent to pick up and give to their children,” said Monique Fabregas, a mother and founder of GreenMom.
Tests were also conducted on baby bottles bought in the U.S. – Avent, Dr. Brown, Evenflo and Disney. The results were similar as those of bottles bought in Canada, with Dr. Brown bottles showing the highest concentration of bisphenol A after the bottles were heated.
Health Canada is currently conducting a safety review of bisphenol A as part of the federal government’s Chemicals Management Plan, and will recommend whether to regulate the chemical in the coming months. In Ontario, the McGuinty government is creating an expert panel to review toxic chemicals, starting with bisphenol A, with a view to introducing stricter regulations to protect Ontarians’ health. Environmental Defence is calling for a ban on the use of bisphenol A in baby bottles, reusable water bottles and all other food and beverage containers.
“With so many scientific studies showing harm in low doses, there’s no excuse for failing to act to protect children’s health,” said Dr. Kapil Khatter, Pollution Policy Advisor for Environmental Defence. “The absence of regulation is needlessly putting children’s health at risk.”
Environmental Defence is also encouraging retailers to stop selling products that contain bisphenol A. Both Mountain Equipment Co-op and Lululemon recently chose to take bisphenol A products off their shelves. Parents can take action immediately to protect their children’s health by choosing safer alternatives, including plastic baby bottles made without bisphenol A, or glass baby bottles. For further tips, parents can download the Toxic Nation Guide to Toxic Baby Bottles from Environmental Defence’s Toxic Nation web site – www.toxicnation.ca.
The full study, Toxic Baby Bottles in Canada: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular Brands of Polycarbonate Baby Bottles, is available to download for free on the Toxic Nation web site – www.toxicnation.ca.
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, safe food and thriving ecosystems. Nationwide.
For further information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)