Canada's federal government has decided that bisphenol A is a toxic substance and is drafting regulations to manage the chemical. It is the first country to take such an extreme view of the byproduct of certain plastics production.
Our science indicated that bisphenol A may be harmful to both human health and the environment and we were the first country to take bold action in the interest of Canadians, stated Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq in an Oct. 13 announcement.
The verdict of toxicity was echoed by Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice.
We are continuing our leadership on this issue and Canadians can rest assured that we are working hard to monitor and manage bisphenol A, Prentice said in the announcement.
Bisphenol A has been added to Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which enables development of regulatory risk-management measures.
The recent pronouncement strengthens Canada's approach to bisphenol A. Nearly two years ago, it banned polycarbonate baby bottles because they might contain BPA but it allowed 18.9-liter water bottles. In July 2009 it said BPA did not pose a health risk in bottled water, powdered infant formula and baby foods in glass jars with metal lids. This past summer the federal government announced BPA is present in the urine of most Canadians.
Steven Hentges, spokesman for the PC/BPA global group of the Washington-based American Chemistry Council, criticized Canada's decision.
[This decision] puts Environment Canada at odds with the recent conclusions of [the European Food Safety Authority], the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, all of which have concluded that BPA is safe in contact with food, Hentges said.
However, despite the EFSA declaration that existing regulations are sufficient, the European Commission is moving ahead with plans to tighten controls on BPA.