Ottawa – After years of public protest and mounting scientific evidence, the government of Canada made a precedent-setting announcement by banning a known toxic chemical from baby bottles. The chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), is commonly found in plastic baby bottles, hard plastic sippy cups, reusable water bottles, the lining of some food cans, and dental sealants. The announcement was published in the Canada Gazette, the official newspaper of the Government of Canada (http://canadagazette.gc.ca/index-e.html)
 
“The federal government has delivered on its promise to ban bisphenol A in baby bottles and deserves congratulations today. With this step, Canada leads the world,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “Parents across the country have won an enormous battle.”
 
BPA has been found to leach out of products such as baby bottles and the lining of some food cans. Most recently, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association linked, for the first time, ‘normal’ levels of BPA in a large human population in the U.S. with higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. International organizations, expert panels and more than 150 peer-reviewed studies have associated bisphenol A with a variety of health problems (obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer and a wide range of developmental problems), often at surprisingly low levels of exposure.
 
Health Canada’s own assessment of bisphenol A noted that this chemical can accumulate in the womb, exposing the fetus to higher concentrations than at other stages in the child’s life. Bisphenol A has been detected in breast milk at levels nearly as high as those found in infant formula. There is significant evidence that bisphenol A is acutely toxic to aquatic organisms, and the chemical has been found in surface waters, sediment, groundwater and elsewhere in the environment.
 
Environmental Defence’s online campaign (www.toxicnation.ca) gathered thousands of signatures from Canadians urging Health Canada to ban BPA in all food and beverage containers. An EKOS Research poll in June, commissioned by Environmental Defence, found that 73% of respondents believe that the Canadian government should extend regulation of bisphenol A in baby bottles to include other food containers, such as reusable water bottles and food cans.
 
“Canadians want this chemical out of their homes and out of their lives,” said Dr. Smith. “With the non-toxic alternatives available, the federal government should require a transition away from bisphenol A, in all its applications in food and beverage containers, as soon as possible. The government should maintain its course and make sure that the precautionary principle continues to lead our decision-making with respect to the many other hazardous chemicals in our environment and our bodies.’
 
The announcement commits the federal government to working with industry to limit BPA in the linings of infant formula tins, but does not propose to eliminate or reduce bisphenol A in other canned goods,  dental sealants, or the many other consumer products that contain this toxic chemical. “The only acceptable level of BPA in infant formula cans is zero,” said Dr. Smith. “Getting this chemical out of cans, period, is the government’s next critical challenge.”
 
The proposed Risk Management approach for bisphenol A can be found online at http://www.ec.gc.ca/substances/ese/eng/challenge/batch2/batch2_80-05-7_rm.cfm, and the screening assessment is online at http://www.ec.gc.ca/substances/ese/eng/challenge/batch2/batch2_80-05-7.cfm.
 
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.caEnvironmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change.):
 
 
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)
Aaron Freeman, Environmental Defence, (613) 564-0007; (613) 697-7281 (cell)
Dr. Rick Smith, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 225; (416) 670-9521 (cell