Study shows low levels of BPA migration into baby bottles, say researchers

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

A new study has found low levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) migration
into polycarbonate baby bottles when heated in a microwave, claim
the researchers.

A research group based at the Netherlands research centre, TNO, concluded that the levels of migration of Bisphenol A (BPA) into water from polycarbonate when exposed to microwave heating were well below the specific limit of 0.6 milligram/kg specified for Bisphenol A in the Commission Directive 2004/19/EC. The TNO researchers said that their study, described in an article in the journal Food Additives and Contaminants,​ showed that the migration of BPA into water ranged from 0.1 to 0.7 µg per litre. BPA is a chemical used in certain packaging materials such as the rigid plastic polycarbonate. It is also used in epoxy-phenolic resins for internal protective linings for cans and metal lids, as well as in coatings for storage tanks. Concerns have arisen over BPA since it has been found to migrate in small amounts into foods and beverages stored in the materials. Description of study ​ The researchers stated that 18 different brands of polycarbonate baby bottles sold in Europe were evaluated and that the initial residual content of BPA and its migration after microwave heating were determined. This showed that BPA in the polycarbonate baby bottles ranged from 1.4 to 35.3 miligrams/kg. The migration of BPA was determined by placing a polycarbonate bottle filled with water in a microwave oven and heating it to 100°C, with the amount of BPA in the water then determined by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), according to the published study. The process of microwave heating and analysis was repeated twice for the same bottle so that three migration extracts were prepared for each test specimen, claim the researchers. The TNO group claims that there was no correlation between the amount of residual content of BPA in the bottles and the migration of BPA into water. EFSA review of BPA advice ​ The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently announced its decision to review its previous advice on safe levels of BPA in food packaging and provide updates on its deliberations, following assessments from Canada and the US. In January 2007, the EFSA published its own risk assessment on BPA, in which it established a full tolerable daily intake of 0.05 milligram/kg body weight. The body recently said that it is aware of the draft US NTP (National Toxicology Program) brief on BPA and the Environment Canada draft screening assessment report and the Risk Management scope document. The EFSA said that it is examining all relevant information relating to the reports from the other side of the Atlantic and, following its review, will decide whether or not it needs to reconsider its advice on the chemical. This may mean that the goalposts could shift for European packaging companies that use BPA when manufacturing polycarbonates for water bottles, canned soups and drinks and baby food bottles. Canadian assessment​ The Canadian government announced in mid April that it had completed a draft risk assessment of BPA in consultation with industry and other stakeholders and, initiated a 60 day public consultation on whether to ban the importation, sale and advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles - as well as several other possibilities. Health Canada's screening assessment primarily focused on the impact of BPA on newborns and infants up to 18 months of age, however, health risks for all ages were considered. The scientists determined that BPA expose to newborns and infants is below levels that may pose a risk; however, the government is proposing the above measures as a precaution. Developments in the US​ Pressure is growing in the FDA to set new restrictions on the use of BPA in food packaging following a report from the National Toxicology Program which concluded that there was "some concern for neural and behavioural effects in foetuses, infants and children at current human exposures to BPA​. The NTP also said that there was evidence that BPA could induce cancer in humans at current exposure levels, although more research was needed. In March this year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest warned pregnant women to reduce their exposure to packaging containing BPA to avoid passing the chemical to their unborn children. Retailers react ​ In December 2007, Canadian retailer, Mountain Equipment Co-op, decided to stop selling sales of Nalgene bottles made of BPA, while the US retailer Wal-Mart recently announced that it will phase out bottles containing BPA by 2009. Source: Journal of Food Additives & Contaminants,​ Published online ahead of doi: 10.1080/02652030701867867 Title of Article: Migration of bisphenol A into water from polycarbonate baby bottles during microwave heating ​ Authors: Ehlert et al

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