Canada plans to ban polycarbonate baby bottles

Fri Apr 18, 2008 3:28pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada intends to become the first country to ban the import and sale of some types of plastic baby bottles because they contain a chemical that the government says could harm infants and toddlers.

Health Minister Tony Clement said on Friday he would bring in rules to outlaw plastic polycarbonate baby bottles, perhaps within the next year. These bottles are made with bisphenol A, which is also used in food and water containers.

Clement said bisphenol A could hinder child development and cited a study which he said showed that overexposure at an early age could cause behavioral and neurological symptoms later in life.

"We have concluded that early development is sensitive to the effects of bisphenol A," he told a news conference.

"Although our science tells us that exposure levels to newborns and infants are below the levels that cause effects, we believe that the current safety margin needs to be higher... It is better to be safe than sorry."

The U.S. government said on Tuesday that bisphenol A could be tied to early puberty, and to prostate and breast cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers the chemical safe in products for use by infants and children.

Canadian scientists also found low levels of the chemical could over time harm fish and other organisms.

Clement said bisphenol A could migrate into food, especially when heated, and he warned parents never to pour boiling water into bottles made with the chemical.   Continued...

<p>A boy carries used plastic bottles in a shop which will be sent to recycling plants in Dhaka in this January 29, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Rafiqur Rahman</p>