Hospitals Told to Drop Plastic Baby Bottles Containing BPA

The Health Ministry has instructed hospitals to cease using plastic bottles containing Bisphenol A in feeding newborns and infants. New research raised ministry concerns about the effects of even small concentrations of BPA on the brain, the hormones and especially on a developing fetus, infants and small children.

In the United States and Europe no definitive decision has been made on banning the use of bottles containing BPA, but the Health Ministry decision was made "on the basis of the principle of preventive caution, to contain the exposure of infants to Bisphenol A as much as possible."

Canada is the only country that completely banned BPA, a law that went into effect in March 2010.

Now, hospitals in Israel will have to stop using bottles containing Bisphenol A for newborns and infants by July 1, 2011.

In September, Haaretz reported that the ministry was trying to minimize further the concentrations of Bisphenol A in baby bottles. Two years earlier, the ministry had recommended parents avoid heating baby bottles in microwave ovens and to fill them with formula and warm water to limit the likelihood infants would be exposed to Bisphenol A. The material is released when such polycarbonate plastics are exposed to high heat, and thus the concerns of a health hazard.

Other items may be banned

An expert ministry committee, headed by Dr. John Young, which assesses risks in foodstuffs, after deliberating during the past year, recommended additional steps to minimize infants' exposure to BPA.

Other items containing the polycarbonate that may be put on a banned list include plastic toys that children may bite and pacifiers. The ministry recommends that such items not be used if they are damaged or worn for fear the dangerous material could be ingested.

The Health Ministry has also decided to broaden the investigation into the ways in which the adult population may be exposed to Bisphenol A and other damaging materials.