Ban BPA milk bottles now, say consumer groups

[Photo: Model Nisa Kasnoon shows the different between polycarbonate baby feeding bottle that contains Bisphenol A (BPA) (right bottle) and polypropylene (PP) (left bottle) that safe for use during the press conference at his ministry, yesterday. The polycarbonate feeding bottle soon will be banned in the market.]

PETALING JAYA: The Government should ban all polycarbonate infant milk bottles containing the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) with immediate effect, said consumers associations.

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), which has been calling for the ban since 1998, along with the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca), said the ban should be immediate and not be enforced one year from now.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai announced on Monday that the bottles would be outlawed from March 1 next year and the retailers selling these bottles had been given one year to comply with the ruling.

He said the Cabinet decided to ban such bottles due to BPA's risk to the infant hormone system.

Fomca chief executive officer Datuk Paul Selva Raj said the Government should not compromise as BPA was harmful and detrimental to the health of high-risk groups, namely infants and children.

"It is not necessary to wait for a year for such a move to be implemented," he told The Star.

CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris said the ban should be applied across the board, including banning the import and sale of water containers containing BPA.

"Polycarbonate plastic tends to leach BPA with age and after heating. It is sometimes identified by the recycling industry's symbol of the number '7' inside a triangle with the letters 'PC' next to the symbol," he said.

He said BPA was a synthetic chemical also known as "environmental hormones".

"It can disrupt the hormone-secreting glands that form the endocrine system. This system includes the thyroid, pituitary, pancreas, thymus, adrenal, ovaries and testical glands," he said.

He added that common consumer products using BPA included baby feeding bottles, water bottles widely used by students and office workers, and liners for food and beverage cans.

Mohamed Idris advised consumers to use feeding bottles made of metal or glass, and to throw away any old and scratched plastic containers or bottles.

Other countries that have banned the chemical in milk bottles include China, Germany, France, Denmark, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and New York state in the United States.

-The Star/Asia News Network