Environmentalists: BPA ban completely inadequate

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Inadequate ban on hormone chemical bisphenol A. Environmentalists are calling for a general ban on the harmful mass chemical

With a transition period of three months, the hormone-like chemical bisphenol-A for the manufacture of baby bottles is prohibited in Germany. As the Federal Ministry of Consumer Affairs announced, the ban should apply from March 1, 2011. However, the harmful bottles may still be sold until July 1, 2011. However, this only applies to BPA bottles that were produced before the ban. Germany had campaigned for the bisphenol-A EU guidelines to be changed. Environmentalists criticize the amendments to the EU directive as "completely inadequate".

Bisphenol-A in short, also called BPA, is a plasticizer that acts in low doses like the female hormone estrogen. Numerous independent studies have come to the conclusion that the everyday chemical has far-reaching health consequences. Several evidence-based studies have shown that BPA has a lasting effect on human hormone levels. Among other things, BPA is responsible for infertility in men and women, increases the risk of diabetes and disrupts sexual development. The BPA level in urine can be measured in every person. Because every person comes into contact with the chemical almost every day.

Insufficient BPA ban
However, the prohibition only applies to the manufacture of baby bottles. All other products are excluded from this. Environmentalists and health experts have been calling for a total ban on the bulk chemical, which is found in almost all products containing plasticizers, for years. Patricia Cameron, chemical expert at the environmental association BUND, said: "Children are particularly at risk. The ban on bisphenol A in baby bottles is therefore an important step in the right direction. However, the exposure begins in the womb. That is why the chemical has to be used for all applications banned, which can harm children and pregnant women. " The environmentalists had also found bisphenol A in pacifiers in analyzes by a test laboratory.

4.00000 tons of bisphenol-A in Germany
In Germany alone, around 4,000,000 tons of bisphenol A are marketed every year. Baby bottles only take up a very small proportion. BPA can also be found in numerous other plastic articles made of polycarbonate as well as in the inner coatings of cans and in thermal paper. If people really need to be protected, the BPA ban on baby bottles can only be a start, the environmentalist and chemical expert warned. The BUND called for a ban on bisphenol A and other hormone-like substances not only for baby bottles, but also for all toddler items and products that come into contact with food.

Consumers can protect themselves and their children
Since many consumers in Germany are now critical of industrial additives, the industry has also reacted. In well-stocked specialty shops, consumers can now find BPA-free children's items. This is also reported by the BUND. "In the meantime, almost all manufacturers offer bisphenol-A-free products in addition to conventional children's items such as baby bottles and pacifiers made of polycarbonate. This shows that the substance is easy to replace and that nothing stands in the way of a further ban." The products read for example "BPA free", "without bisphenol-A" or "BPA free". (sb)

Also read:
Ban on bisphenol-A in baby bottles
Lobbyists prevent bisphenol-A ban
Study: Girls getting sexually mature earlier
Hormone-active chemicals threaten health

Image: D. Braun / pixelio.de

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