A study by Health Canada detected trace levels of the substance in baby bottles marketed as BPA-free. However, memos exchanged between agency officials characterized the findings in two brands as “high readings”.
But doubts have been expressed over the findings as producers of BPA-free bottles dismiss the findings as flawed and Health Canada said the BPA presence – which it believes poses no health threat - could be as a result of cross contamination during the bottle manufacturing process.
The Health Canada study was carried out on nine brands of non-polycarbonate bottles last year following the Canadian Government declaration that it would ban polycarbonate bottles on fears BPA was leaching into liquids.
The results, obtained by Canwest under a freedom of access request, found BPA in a polypropylene bottle “which should contain no BPA”, said a senior scientist. He recommended further tests be carried out on other brands. No brand names were released for fear of the commercial consequences.
But researchers responsible for the report have suggested “traces of BPA found to migrate from these bottles could be artifacts of the manufacturing process”. The government scientists also concluded that since the BPA-free bottles - made from polysulfone, polystyrene or polypropylene – leached less than polycarbonate containers, they should be considered a “reasonable alternative” to PC alternatives.
Health Canada yesterday moved to reassure consumers that the "very low trace amounts" of BPA detected posed no health concerns. The body said the amount of leaching was in the parts per trillion range. It added: “At this time, Health Canada has no concerns with respect to the safety of baby bottles from (non-polycarbonate) plastics."
“These trace amounts may result from cross-contamination cause by the ubiquitous nature of BPA in the manufacturing environment,” said Health Canada in a statement. “Detection of BPA in the non-polycarbonate plastic bottles may also be due to improved sensitivity of instruments in laboratories."
Producers of BPA-free drinking containers said they were shocked by the findings and have challenged the veracity of the research.
Kevin Brodwick, founder of thinkbaby, whose products are specifically manufactured to be free of a range of chemicals including BPA and phthalates, rejected the research findings. He said tests carried by three major laboratories on the company’s products every quarter had shown “zero, complete non-detect for BPA”.