Mere weeks after China's Ministry of Health announced a prohibition on the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in infant food containers was being considered, the Chinese government has followed up by banning the controversial plastic additive outright in new production of infant feeding bottles.
The ban on BPA is for all intents and purposes immediate, as it is stated to come into effect on June 1st, 2011, just two days after the policy was announced. In addition, the ban is backed by the full weight of the Chinese government, with China's Ministry of Health and five other governmental bodies issuing the joint public health notice that “bans the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in the production of infant feeding bottles.”
The joint public health notice also requires that both imports and domestic sales of bottles containing BPA be banned effective September 1st, 2011. The new policy regarding the use of BPA was stated in unusually strong and clear language, backed by the threat of rigorous enforcement. According to Xinhuanet, the notice “asks local food security inspectors to be vigilant against any possible violations of the ban.”
Bisphenol-A is an organic compound used to make polycarbonate plastics softer. As such, it has traditonally been used in bottles, sippy cups, tableware and beverage containers used by babies and infants.
However, BPA is what is known as an “endocrine disruptor” that can mimic the body's own hormones. So-called Xenoestrogens may lead to premature sexual development in children, according to researchers, and in fact this substance has been known to be estrogenic since the mid-1930s!
Lately, the tide has finally turned medical professionals, health authorities and governments around the world against BPA, with Canada being the first nation to ban BPA in September of 2010.
In March 2011, the European Union (EU) officially outlawed the manufacture and sale of baby bottles and containers made with Bisphenol-A .
As for the USA, although the FDA has been roundly criticized for reassuring consumers in the fall of 2008 that current limits on BPA exposure were safe, a growing number of state governments and private sector companies are taking matters into their own hands and banning the use of BPA.
Not everyone is onboard, however. In February of 2011, Maine's newly elected governor Paul LePage stated he is in favor of repealing the state ban on BPA because “There hasn’t been any science that identifies that there is a problem.” LePage added “The only thing that I've heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards.”
Nice... and nice to see that China is taking bold action on a health-related matter the United States is dragging its national hindquarters on. C'mon America, get with the program and go with the (Even)flow!