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European Commission wants ban on bisphenol A in baby bottles

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Baby bottles, Bisphenol a

The European Commission said it wants to introduce a region-wide ban on the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and has launched discussions with member states over the matter.

The decision to pursue a ban on the chemical in polycarbonate baby bottles comes in the wake of an updated opinion delivered by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) at the end of September.

Since then the issue appears to have been given priority by the Commission, which has convened a number of meetings with national representatives on the issue.

“There have been a few meetings with stakeholders and the Commission has the intention to move towards a ban of BPA in baby bottles,”​ EC health and consumer spokesman Frederic Vincent told FoodProductionDaily.com. “The Commission is committed to a BPA ban in baby bottles but it will have to be discussed by member states.”

He added that health and consumer policy Commissioner Dalli had been concerned about the continued inclusion of the chemical in polycarbonate bottles since his appointment earlier this year but stressed that discussions with member states were “still ongoing”.

“At present there is no indication of what the opinion of member states will be but we know that two nations, France and Denmark, are already pushing for this”,​ said Vincent.

The spokesman said the Commission was working on more detailed proposals and was aiming to make a decision on the issue before summer 2011.

Uncertainties

Last month, Commissioner Dalli signalled that Brussels may be preparing to take action over the substance when said uncertainties pinpointed by the food safety watchdog would be scrutinised by experts from across the EU.

While the view of the Parma-based safety watchdog backed the current tolerable daily intake level, it also highlighted areas of uncertainty, which, Dalli said, did not rule out the chemical could adversely affect development, immune response or tumour promotion. The Commission said it would consider measures to minimise infant exposure to the chemical.

BPA is used in a range of food contact materials – including polycarbonate baby bottles and the epoxy linings of food and drinks cans. Its continued inclusion in packaging is a matter of fierce debate across the world. While food safety authorities in both the US and Europe have said the chemical poses no health risks at current exposure levels, France and Denmark have unilaterally banned the substance in baby bottles and Canada has added it to its list toxic substances.

Last week, a meeting of experts organised by the World Health Organisation said levels of BPA present in food were too low to cause adverse health effects.

Related topics: Smart Packaging

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