PLASTICS AND HEALTH
Denmark bans BPA in children's food packaging temporarily / Minister says more studies needed
Concern over health effects of bisphenol A (BPA) continues to make waves, or at least ripples, despite – or perhaps due to – the many controversial studies conducted with the substance widely used to produce polycarbonate and epoxy resins for can liners. Denmark has now moved to temporarily ban BPA in food packaging aimed at children under three years of age. Starting 1 July, infant feeding bottles, feeding cups and baby food packaging containing BPA may not be sold. Applauding the Danish move, German environmental pressure group BUND called on the country’s agriculture and consumer affairs minister to move toward a “comprehensive ban” on BPA in products for children.

France's upper house of parliament house, the senate, also recently passed a bill proposing a ban in baby feeding bottles following a report by the national food safety body, Afssa, that identified potential health risks during preliminary research. To become law, the measure would have to be passed by France’s lower house of parliament, the Assemblée Nationale. The proposed legislation provides for lifting the potential ban if Afssa’s research proves conclusively that the substance is not a hazard.

While the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dropped earlier plans to regulate BPA as a human health hazard under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA) – see Plasteurope.com of 21.10.2009 – the authority’s recently issued Bisphenol A Action Plan will “consider identifying” the chemical as hazardous to aquatic animals – see Plasteurope.com of 22.02.2010. EPA also will monitor the environmental effects of BPA in thermal transfer paper such as that used in cash register receipts.

Henrik Hoegh, Danish Minister of Food, said research by the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) “had not found any clear evidence” that BPA has harmful effects on the behaviour in newborn rats. However, he said the DTU studies, which were commissioned by the government, “raise uncertainties” concerning “the impact of low-level exposure to BPA on learning capacity in young male rats.” As it is not yet known whether these findings were coincidental or directly related to exposure to the chemical, more research has been commissioned.

Plans for a new scientific opinion on BPA were discussed at a late March conference of the European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, attended by experts from EU countries and representatives of the European Commission. At the Commission’s request, EFSA will present a new scientific opinion on BPA in late May.
09.04.2010 Plasteurope.com [215924]
Published on 09.04.2010

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