MANILA - The group EcoWaste Coalition is urging the Philippine government to ban the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in producing baby feeding bottles, sippy cups and other food and beverage containers for kids under the age of three.
In a letter to Health Secretary Enrique Ona, the group claimed that BPA, a synthetic compound used in polycarbonate baby bottles and in epoxy resins for canned foods and beverages, "has been linked to a long list of health problems including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, asthma, erectile dysfunction, infertility, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart ailments and breast and prostate cancers, often at low levels of exposure."
Bisphenol A (BPA) is described as an industrial chemical that has been present in many hard plastic bottles and metal-based food and beverage cans since the 1960s.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said BPA is used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate, which has been used in many consumer products, including reusable water bottles.
BPA is also found in epoxy resins, which act as a protective lining on the inside of metal-based food and beverage cans.
In the letter, EcoWaste Coalition cited two studies that suggest early exposure to low doses of BPA alters cells and can result to serious diseases in the future.
The first study led by Prof. Gail Prins of the University of Illinois, USA and published in the journal Endocrinology showed that “exposure to low levels of Bisphenol A during development may make men more susceptible to prostate cancer later in life.”
Another study by Prof. Raphael Stoll, Prof Dr. Jürgen Scherkenbeck and researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the University of Wuppertal,Germany, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry,indicated that BPA "impairs the function of proteins that are vital for growth processes in cells.”
EcoWaste Coalition said that to prevent fetal and childhood exposure to BPA via BPA-containing baby bottles, sippy cups and other food and beverage containers for infants and toddlers, "we urge the [Department of Health] to apply the precautionary principle and bar theuse of such endocrine disrupting agent in such products."
In its own advisory last March 2013, the US FDA also expressed concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.
It said the FDA is taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply including supporting the industry’s actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the US market.
It said major manufacturers have stopped selling new BPA-containing bottles and infant feeding cups for the US market. "Glass and polypropylene bottles and plastic disposable 'bag' liners have long been alternatives to polycarbonate nursing bottles," it said.
The FDA is facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans.