Tony Clement, Health Minister, and John Baird, Environment Minister, have announced that the government of Canada is considering banning polycarbonate baby bottles which contain bisphenol A.

After completing a risk assessment of bisphenol A together with industry and other stakeholders, the Canadian government has initiated a 60-day public comment period on whether to prohibit the importation, sale and advertising on polycarbonate baby bottles containing bisphenol A.

Health Canada informs that the comment period started on April 19th, 2008 - as soon as the government had published a summary notice of its assessment findings in Canada Gazette, Part 1.

Minister Clement said "Canada has been the first country in the world to conduct risk assessments on a number of chemicals of concern, as a result of a new initiative announced by the Prime Minister on December 8, 2006 known as the Chemicals Management Plan. We have immediately taken action on bisphenol A, because we believe it is our responsibility to ensure families, Canadians and our environment are not exposed to a potentially harmful chemical."

The bisphenol A assessment focused mainly on the impact it might have on newborns and infants/babies aged up to 18 months. Health Canada informs bisphenol A's impact on all age-groups was also considered.

It was considered that the main source of exposure for newborns/infants is as a result of using polycarbonate baby bottles when they are exposed to high temperatures - bisphenol A migrates from cans into infant formula. In the assessment, researchers concluded that exposure to bisphenol A is below levels that may be considered a risk to human health. Nevertheless "The gap between exposure and effect is not large enough," Health Canada wrote on its web site.

In order to reduce bisphenol A exposure in newborns/infants, the Government of Canada is proposing to-

-- ban polycarbonate baby bottles
-- develop stringent migration targets for bisphenol A in infant formula cans
-- work with industry to develop alternative food packaging and develop a code of practice
-- list bisphenol A under Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

The Canadian scientists also found that low levels of bisphenol A can be harmful to fish and other aquatic organism over time. According to studies, bisphenol A is found in wastewater and sludge treatment plants.

Minister Baird said "When it comes to Canada's environment, you can't put a price on safety. Not only are we finding out about the health impacts of bisphenol A, but the environmental impacts as well. That's why our Government will be moving forward and will work with the provinces and stakeholders to keep bisphenol A out of our environment, and take the necessary measures to ensure its safe use and disposal."

Health Canada



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