The first part of a European ban on bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles comes into force tomorrow in what Brussels hailed as a ‘landmark’ move to safeguard consumer health and safety.
European Union directive 2011/8/EU prohibits the manufacture of infant bottles containing the chemical from 1 March. The second part of the regulation, due to come into force on 1 June, will outlaw the marketing or selling BPA-containing bottles within the economic bloc.
John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, said: "March 1 represents a landmark in our efforts to protect better the health of EU citizens, in particular when it comes to our children following the precautionary principle.”
The European Commission took the decision to ban the chemical in baby bottles last November after it said doubts were raised over the continued use of BPA in the containers by the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) opinion delivered in September.
The substance is known to leach in small amounts from bottles into foodstuffs - particularly if they are heated to high temperatures – which poses concerns as “the infants' system is still building up to eliminate BPA during the first six months of their lives,” said an EC statement.
It added that exposure to the substance is the highest during this period especially if infant formula is their only source of nutrition as this is administered through baby bottles.
“Due to the fact that there are uncertainties concerning the harmfulness of the exposure of infants to Bisphenol A, the Commission deemed it both necessary and appropriate to take action,” said Dalli. “The aim is to further reduce the exposure of the most vulnerable part of our population –i.e. the infants– to the substance thus safeguarding their health."