Canadian Plastics

Canada to limit use of bisphenol A

The Canadian Government has announced plans to limit use of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in polycarbonate baby bo...

April 21, 2008   Canadian Plastics

The Canadian Government has announced plans to limit use of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in polycarbonate baby bottles and can liners for infant formula and food.

A draft report by Health Canada determined the chemical, found in such plastic products as baby and reusable hard plastic drink and food containers, has the potential to endanger infants.

On April 18, Health Minister Tony Clement said the Government would take the precautionary measure of reducing exposure to BPA of newborns and infants up to 18 months. “We have concluded that is better to be safe than sorry,” Clement said.

But the draft report’s finding won’t mean that BPA will be immediately banned or restricted. Ottawa is giving the public 60 days to comment on the report. The Government will then have until October to issue a final report detailing control measures. Unless they receive significant new research by the end of the comment period, the Government will move to ban the importation, sale and advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles.

Earlier reports had suggested the Government would impose an all-out ban on the chemical, prompting several major Canadian retailers to stop selling products containing BPA. Wal-Mart Canada, Sears Canada, Rexall Pharmacies, London Drugs and Home Depot Canada are the latest companies to stop selling products containing BPA. They join the Forzani Group, Canada’s largest sporting goods retailer; Hudson’s Bay Co., which includes the Bay and Zellers stores; and Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. in ridding their stores of products made with BPA.

According to Clement, the Government is not concerned about other polycarbonate products containing BPA. “Most Canadians need not be concernedbecause in most instances negative health effects occur at levels much greater than those we are exposed to in Canada,” he said.

In a response to Health Canada’s announcement, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the lead organization for the plastics industry on BPA, reaffirmed the safety of consumer products containing the chemical. “Consistent with the safety evaluations conducted by many other scientific and government bodies, the draft assessment released by Health Canada confirms that health risks to the general population in Canada from exposure to [BPA] are negligible,” the agency said. “We strongly support scientific research on the safety of BPAand we will continue to participate in the ongoing process for the Canadian government.”

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) is also pledging to remain involved in the process. “[The] CPIA supports the Government’s efforts to consult and gather comments over the next 60 days and we remain committed and available to working with the Government on this,” the organization said.

Information on Health Canada’s BPA draft assessment can be accessed at :http://www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca


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