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CANSA calls on Government to protect children against harmful chemicals in toys and baby bottles

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) has noted with growing concern the increasing scientific evidence that babies and young children are exposed to many man-made chemicals, some of which may be harmful because they are hormone disrupters and could be risk-factors for breast and prostate cancer in later life. What is of particular concern is the finding that babies have the highest concentration of some of these man-made molecules.

A number of countries have identified specific man-made molecules of concern and have taken legislative steps to ban the use of these chemicals especially in items that come into contact with young children and babies – who are most vulnerable.

“CANSA wishes to request the South African Government to follow the examples of Health Canada concerning the banning of polycarbonate baby bottles containing Bisphenol A and the United States Government and the European Parliament for banning a specified list of phthalates found in children’s toys,” says Dr Carl Albrecht, Head of Research at CANSA.

According to Albrecht, babies are particularly vulnerable because per kilogram they eat ten-times more than adults; are orally much more exposed to plastic items, such as baby bottles and toys than are adults; have low concentrations of drug-metabolising enzymes which could neutralise man-made chemicals compared to adults and have sensitive cellular communication systems in developing organs such as the brain, breast and prostate which can be disrupted by man-made chemicals such as bisphenol A and certain phthalates.

CANSA is also concerned about plasticisers which leak out of clingfilm especially when in contact with fatty food such as cheese, chicken and mince meat. CANSA would like to see that the amount of plasticiser used in these products to be regulated as is the case in the European Union. Nevertheless, CANSA is delighted that there are clingfilm products in South Africa, made out of polyethylene, that are free of plasticisers – read more…

If this is possible with clingwrap, it is hoped that chemically safe baby bottles and toys will become the order of the day in the future and help to reduce the risk of cancer.

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