A coalition of public health and environmental groups has asked for a ban in the U.S. and Canada on Bisphenol A in polycarbonate baby bottles. But the leaching levels of BPA, upon which the group's call for a moratorium are based, are substantially lower than scientifically accepted levels globally, according to the PC industry.
The Work Group for Safe Markets said its study of three brands of baby bottles found BPA leached out at rates of between 5-8 parts per billion when the bottles were heated to 176° F for 24 hours, paralleling the Los Angeles-based Environment California's findings from last year. The research was released Feb. 7 in a report called ``Baby's Toxic Bottle.''
That is far lower than the migration level of 600 ppb the European Food Safety Authority of the European Union has deemed safe, said Steve Hentges, executive director of the polycarbonate/BPA unit of the plastics division of the American Chemistry Council in Arlington, Va.
In addition, EFSA last March said its recent research indicated levels as high as 3,000 ppb were a safe exposure level for infants and children.
``There is essentially nothing new'' in the report or in a study released by the University of Cincinnati last month, said Hentges in a phone interview. ``In fact, these studies confirm what we already know, and confirm that polycarbonate bottles are safe for use. Their criticisms don't hold water.''
In addition, Hengtes pointed out the test findings from heating the bottles are of ``little relevance,'' as baby bottles are not used under the testing conditions.
Gilbert Ross, executive director and medical director of the American Council on Science Health agreed. ``The current, very low levels of exposure to Bisphenol A from plastic bottles and other consumer products do not pose a hazard to human health,'' Ross said in a statement.
Four states - Washington, Oregon, California and Connecticut - have proposed legislation to ban the use of BPA in making products for children under the age of 3. BPA is used to make PC for products such as baby bottles and medical devices and to make epoxy resins for coating metal cans for food and beverages.
In addition, Health Canada is currently reviewing more than 200 chemicals, including BPA, with its report expected to be out in May.
The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce is investigating the health effects of BPA in cans containing baby formula and other products aimed at toddlers. It is also looking into allegations the Washington-based scientific consulting firm Weinberg Group was paid to reach predetermined conclusions.