Sweden Bans BPA in Children’s Products

Sweden Bans BPA in Children’s ProductsSweden just announced its ban against BPA in children’s products. The ban involves packaging meant for children under three years of age. The ubiquitous polycarbonate plastics chemical, bisphenol A—BPA—has been at the center of a fierce debate in the United States between industry, which claims that the chemical is safe, and science, which has linked the estrogenic mimicker to myriad health effects.

Most recently, pointed out Food Product Design, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) rejected a petition to ban BPA from food and beverage packaging in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Swedish government announced the ban April 13, noting that the ban will, for the most part, involve baby food bottle lids. The Swedish Chemicals Agency was given a three-month timeframe to determine if BPA should also be banned from some thermal paper, including receipts and tickets, and to determine BPA’s involvement in drinking water pipes, toys, and children’s products, said Food Product Design.

A joint 2001 report by the Swedish Chemicals Agency and the National Food Agency found broader uncertainty than previously believed concerning the determination of a safe level for low-dose BPA exposure. Both agencies proposed measures to increase knowledge about BPA ubiquity and exposure, as well as measures to protect children from exposures from known sources, said Food Product Design.

The report stated that children’s food marketed in Sweden comes in BPA-free packaging and that the ban will ensure the voluntary BPA phase-out becomes permanent. “Parents must be able to feel confident about the products with which their children come into contact in daily life. As a matter of caution, we are now acting in all areas that the agencies believe play a significant role in the exposure of young children,” said Minister for the Environment, Lena Ek, according to Food Product Design. “The EU should take more far-reaching initiatives than today to limit children’s exposure to bisphenol A and other known endocrine disruptors. I intend to raise the issue with the Commission and the Member States this spring when we discuss the contents of the EU’s next environmental action program,” Ek added.

We’ve written that Canada banned BPA from baby bottles in 2008 and several countries, including France, and Denmark, followed. Other bans are in progress or being considered in the U.S. and at least nine states banned BPA in baby bottles and Connecticut and Vermont banned BPA from infant-formula cans. Several U.S. entities placed limits on the toxin’s use, as well.

BPA, a compound that uses a combination of phenol and acetone, enters food when it leeches from food and beverage containers, and has been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in shatter-resistant polycarbonate plastic and durable epoxy resins. BPA leaches into products—hot or cold—and into the skin, from common items such as paper money, toilet paper, and receipts. BPA works in the body as an anti-androgen, a substance that blocks hormone activity, and mimics estrogen, a powerful female hormone. Because of this, BPA affects, even interrupts, sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children.

Linked to toxic injury and life threatening illnesses in many hundreds of studies, BPA has also has been linked to future cardiac issues and was found to mix up the body’s hormones, tricking fat cells into taking in more fat or confusing the pancreas into releasing too much insulin, the hormone responsible to regulate the breakdown of fat and carbohydrates in the body. At least two BPA-breast cancer links and links to increased anxiety and depression in preschoolers exposed to BPA in the womb have been revealed. BPA has also been linked to toxic injury and implications in intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment. Increased risks for reproductive system disease, for instance, to uterine health and mammalian reproduction; a deadly uterine infection; premature puberty; Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues; and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems in males as young as the developing fetus have been linked to BPA. Very significantly, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently said that BPA may affect the development of young and unborn children.

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