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Bisphenol A in Baby Bottles Project

Babies are exposed to many man-made chemicals such as bisphenol A which may be harmful because they are hormone disrupters and could be risk-factors for breast and prostate cancer in later life.

What is Bisphenol A?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a man-made chemical used in the manufacture of certain plastic products. It is ubiquitous in the modern world, cropping up in everything from water bottles, baby bottles, plastic wraps, food packaging, credit cards to car interiors.

But if BPA enters the human body this otherwise useful chemical has hormonal activity similar to the female hormone oestrogen, and can disturb biological processes at very low concentrations.

Fact Sheet on Bisphenol A

Read the Bisphenol A (BPA) Fact Sheet.

How are you Exposed to Bisphenol A?

If BPA-containing plastics are heated, the BPA can be released. For example, if you pour hot milk into a BPA-containing baby bottle, the BPA can enter the hot milk – and the baby who drinks it.  It has been found that 55 times more BPA is released from bottles filled with hot water compared to those with cold water.

How to Avoid Bisphenol A

There is little to fear from plastic bottles – as long as you do not heat them.

It is the very hard plastic ones you need to beware of – they will say ‘PC’ for ‘polycarbonate’. The softer plastic ones, like those for bottled water, have not been shown to be harmful. The only possible problem if you reuse them a lot – taking them repeatedly in and out of the fridge – is bacterial contamination.

As a general rule, however, rather than worrying about whether a bottle contains BPA or not, is it best to simply avoid heating any plastic bottle. Use glass instead. You can also boil water or milk in another container and then allow it to cool before pouring it into a plastic bottle.

Progress Made by Us

We requested the South African Government to follow the examples of Health Canada concerning the banning of polycarbonate baby bottles containing Bisphenol A.The new law was passed by the government on 21 October 2011 and stops the importation, distribution and sale of polycarbonate baby bottles containing BPA with immediate effect – but this still leaves millions of BPA baby bottles in circulation used by mothers unaware of the health risks.

“Although we’re very pleased with government passing this law, and the effort of some leading retailers having cleared their shelves of BPA baby bottles,we remain extremely concerned about the bulk of unsafe baby bottles in use.” says Sue Janse Van Rensburg, CANSA’s CEO. “To make the public aware of the lurking health hazard, CANSA launched this campaign joined by our ‘Smart Choice’ Seal partners, Nuby, NUK and Pretty Baby, supported by Shoprite Checkers and Interwaste recycling with 50 eeZeeBins.”  Read more…

Read the INFOSAN Information Note: Bisphenol A (BPA) – Current state of knowledge and future actions by WHO and FAO.


Get involved

  • Ask a question or make a comment regarding our research in the box at the bottom of this page.
  • Let’s hear your views on Facebook – CANSA – BPA free babies group
  • Click here to make a secure online donation to support this research project or make a direct deposit to ABSA Bank, Account: CANSA Research, number: 4079965964, Branch: 632005, Reference: Type B Research – Bisphenol A Project.
  • Read more about CANSA research here.
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