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Canada Protects Families With Bisphenol A Regulations

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Government of Canada today announced it will immediately proceed with drafting regulations to prohibit the importation, sale and advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles that contain bisphenol A (BPA). The Government will also take action to limit the amount of bisphenol A that is being released into the environment.

"In 2007, we issued a challenge to industry under our Chemicals Management Plan to provide information on how they manage bisphenol A," said the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health. "Today's announcement is a milestone for our government and for Canada as the first country in the world to take regulatory action."

"Many Canadians, especially mothers of babies and small children in my own constituency of Ottawa West-Nepean, have expressed their concern to me about the risks of bisphenol A in baby bottles," said Canada's Environment Minister John Baird. "Today's confirmation of our ban on BPA in baby bottles proves that our government did the right thing in taking action to protect the health and environment for all Canadians."

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The assessment states that the general public need not be concerned. It primarily focused on its impacts on newborns and infants up to 18 months of age; however, health risks for Canadians of all ages were considered.

It was determined that the main sources of exposure for newborns and infants are through the use of polycarbonate baby bottles when they are exposed to high temperatures and the migration of bisphenol A from cans into infant formula. The scientists concluded in this assessment that bisphenol A exposure to newborns and infants is below levels that cause effects; however, due to the uncertainty raised in some studies relating to the potential effects of low levels of bisphenol A, the Government of Canada is taking action to enhance the protection of infants and young children.

Environment Canada scientists found that bisphenol A is entering the environment through wastewaters, washing residues and leachate from landfills. It also breaks down slowly in the environment when there is a lack of oxygen. The combination of the slow break down of bisphenol A and its wide use in Canada means that over time, this chemical could build up in our waters and harm fish and other organisms.

The Government has allocated an additional $1.7 million over the next three years to fund research projects on bisphenol A. This research, in addition to major studies currently underway at Health Canada and Environment Canada, will help to address key knowledge gaps in both the Canadian and international scientific community, and inform Government decision-making should further actions be required.

The final screening assessment report and proposed risk management approach will be published in Canada Gazette, Part I, on October 18, 2008. The proposed risk management approach will be followed by a 60-day consultation period. Regulations are expected to come into effect in 2009.