Plastic Bottle Ban? - MSN Health & Fitness - Cancer
Plastic Bottle Ban?
By Lisa Farino for MSN Health & Fitness
Responding to growing consumer concern, sports-bottle maker Nalgene announced today that it will be phasing out the use of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in its plastic containers over the coming months.
BPA is a common building block of hard polycarbonate plastics (such as sports bottles, baby bottles, and eye glasses) and is also found in the resin lining of metal food and beverage cans.
Because BPA mimics estrogen, there has been increasing concern that exposure, especially by fetuses, newborns, and infants, may cause long-term health impacts such as early puberty in girls, reproductive problems, and cancers later in life.
Nalgene currently makes about a half-dozen different sports bottles, including ones made from stainless steel and also BPA-free plastics. Only one of its six bottle types includes BPA. Customers who wish to buy BPA-free sports bottles before Nalgeneâ€™s phase-out is complete can visit the Nalgene Choice website to learn more about Nalgeneâ€™s current BPA-free options.
Canada Plans BPA Ban
Across the border, retailers throughout Canada have been releasing plans to remove BPA-containing sports and baby bottles from their shelves. On Wednesday, Wal-Mart Canada announced that it would immediately stop selling baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, food containers, and water bottles that contain BPA.
Many of these retail changes followed an anonymous media leak earlier this week that Health Canada would declare BPA to be toxic.
The official announcement came today as Canadaâ€™s Minister of Health, Tony Clement, declared that the Canadian government is taking action to reduce BPA exposure, especially in newborns and infants.
â€œWe have immediately taken action on bisphenol-A (BPA) because we believe it is our responsibility to ensure families, Canadians and our environment are not exposed to a potentially harmful chemical,â€ said Clement.
The Government of Canada is proposing a ban on polycarbonate baby bottles and strict limits on BPA in infant formula cans. The government is also seeking to work with industry to develop alternative food packaging. A 60-day public comment period on the proposal will begin tomorrow.
Will the US Follow Suit?
On Tuesday, the National Institute of Healthâ€™s National Toxicology Program (NTP) released its draft brief on BPA, which found that current levels of exposure to the chemical did pose â€œsome concernâ€ for fetuses, infants, and children. The main concerns were that exposures in these groups could potentially cause neural and behavioral problems, impact the prostate and mammary glands, and contribute to earlier onset of puberty in girls.
There are no immediate plans in the U.S. to regulate BPA in food and beverage containers.
The report wasnâ€™t intended to make recommendations, says John Bucher, Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program. Rather, the goal was to pull together the literature on the subject, conduct a thorough scientific analysis, and make that information available to regulatory agencies.
â€œAll we can do is point out where the exposures are coming from,â€ said Bucher. The two biggest culprits he identified were polycarbonate baby bottles and the linings of infant formula cans.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that congressional Democrats were pushing for the FDA to regulate the presence of BPA in food containers and beverage bottles.
Although no regulatory agencies are required to take the reportâ€™s findings into account, Bucher says that some agenciesâ€”such as the FDA, the EPA, and the Consumer Product Safety Commissionâ€”could choose to use the NTPâ€™s findings on BPA. Most likely, these agencies will, at the very least, wait until the draft report has been through a peer review process, which is scheduled for June 11, 2008.
Meanwhile, the NTP is accepting public comments about the BPA report.
What Should I Do?
While the NTP does not make specific recommendations about how other agencies should regulate BPA, they did offer the public some tips for reducing personal exposure if they were concerned. These included:
Donâ€™t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from over use at high temperatures.
Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a #7 on the bottom.
Reduce your use of canned foods.
When possible, opt for glass, porcelain, or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
Use baby bottles that are BPA free.
Nalgene to pull popular plastic bottles
1 reply to this topic
Posted 18 April 2008 - 07:28 PM
Christine + Will (married 7/20/07) + Ainsleigh (born 6/25/08) + Nolan (born 11/9/10) + Delaney (born 12/31/13) = One Very Happy Family!
Posted 18 April 2008 - 09:22 PM
jeez i carry one of these 33oz nalgene bottles EVERYWHERE - i drink at least 100oz of water out of it every day and guess what - it is freaking pink and has a #7 on the bottom. yuck. thanks for the headsup Christine - i am trashing it and getting a plain one!!!
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