(photo credit: Courtesy)
After July 1 hospitals will no longer feed formula to infants whose mothers are
not breastfeeding or to babies in pediatrics departments using bottles made from
polycarbonate plastics – which contain the compound bisphenol A
The announcement was made Wednesday by the Health Ministry, which
has not yet recommended that parents use other types of bottles when feeding
their babies. The ministry did not state what other bottles would be used in
hospitals as an alternative.
Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA
usually have a #7 on the bottom.
Prof. Itamar Grotto, who is the senior
ministry official in charge of public health, told The Jerusalem Post that the
eventual aim now is to prohibit the sale of baby bottles made of polycarbonate,
just as was done in Canada last September.
But it takes time to change
the Israeli standard for baby bottles, he said.
Despite the ministry’s
desire to phase out polycarbonate bottles, Grotto said that in the meantime,
parents can purchase polycarbonate bottles containing BPA until further notice.
But if they are scratched or over a year old, they should be thrown out, he
said. The hospitals were told to get rid of polycarbonate bottles because the
ministry could start with this as a first step. He did not explain why the
hospitals were given seven months to buy new bottles that are not made of
New animal studies have raised fears about dangers posed
by even low concentrations of BPA on the brain, behavior and the hormonal system
– and especially on fetuses, babies and small children.
But there is no
unanimity on the actual risks, and while some governments have banned the sale
of products with BPA that come into contact with food, others have
In the European Union, use of polycarbonate to make baby bottles was
just banned. The World Health Organization, aware of the uncertainty of possible
adverse health effects of low-dose BPA exposure, set up a team of experts in
2010 to assess it.
In 2008, the US federal government placed BPA on its
list of toxic substances but has not banned its use. A scientific panel
established by the US National Institutes of Health declared they had “some
concern” about BPA’s effects on fetal and infant brain development and behavior.
An endocrine disruptor that can mimic the body’s own hormones, BPA seems to pose
more potential harm during the early development of fetuses and children than in
adults, according to experts.
BPA was first synthesized in 1891 by the
Russian chemist A.P. Dianin by the condensation of acetone (A in the
abbreviation) with two equal parts of phenol using a strong acid or resin as a
catalyst. The plastic is transparent and almost unbreakable. It is used by some
tin can manufacturers as an inside lining; it is also used in thermal paper,
compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment and medical devices.
primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet, as it can
leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned
foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage
containers and water bottles, as well as baby bottles.