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Health & Consumer Voice - March - 2011 Edition

Ban of Bisphenol A in baby bottles

A ban prohibiting the manufacture in the European Union of baby bottles containing the potentially hazardous Bisphenol A (BPA) substance enters into force on 1 March.

BPA is an organic molecule that is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, widely employed to manufacture plastic materials, such as baby bottles.

Small amounts of BPA can be released from plastic containers such as baby bottles into the food they carry if these containers are heated at high temperatures. According to scientific evidence, infants' ability to eliminate BPA is still building up during their first six months of life. Their exposure to the substance is thus the highest during this period, especially if infant formula administered through such baby bottles is their only source of nutrition.

The ban of the manufacture of baby bottles with BPA was adopted in January (EU Directive (2011/8/EU) and enters into force on 1 March. In addition the ban will be extended on 1 June 2011 to the placing on the market and the import into the EU of baby bottles containing BPA.

In parallel, the industry is voluntarily withdrawing from the market baby bottles containing BPA and replacing them with safer products. This withdrawal is expected to be completed by mid 2011. Member States now have to communicate to the Commission the national legal measures they take to comply with the provisions of the directive.

John Dalli, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy said: "March 1 represents a landmark in our efforts to protect public health in the EU. The ban clearly demonstrates our determination to offer the highest possible level of health protection to our citizens. Despite the fact that there are uncertainties concerning the harmfulness of the exposure of infants to Bisphenol A, the Commission deemed it both necessary and appropriate to take action. The aim is to further reduce the exposure of the most vulnerable part of our population – i.e. the infants – to the substance thus safeguarding their health".

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