Commission Press Release ( IP/11/664), 31 May 2011
Baby bottles containing the substance Bisphenol A (BPA) have to be removed from the shelves in stores across the European Union tomorrow, as a ban on the placing on the market and import into the EU of such products enters into force. The ban is foreseen in an EU directive (2011/8/EU) adopted in late January. The industry has been withdrawing voluntarily from the market baby bottles containing BPA. On March 1, the EU had banned the manufacture in the Union of baby bottles containing BPA.
John Dalli, Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, said: "June 1 is a milestone in our efforts to better protect the health of EU citizens, in particular the health of our children. Due to the fact that there are uncertainties concerning the effect of the exposure of infants to Bisphenol A, the Commission deemed it both necessary and appropriate to take action. The aim is to further reduce the exposure of the most vulnerable part of our population –i.e. infants"
What is BPA?
BPA is an organic molecule that is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, which –in turn– are used to manufacture plastic materials, such as baby bottles.
Traces of BPA can be released from plastic containers into the food they carry –infant formula in the case of baby bottles– if these containers are heated at high temperatures.
During the first six months of the infants' lives, exposure to the substance is the highest, especially if infant formula is the only source of nutrition. Also, during this period the infants' system builds up and does not have the capacity to eliminate BPA.
In 2010, France and Denmark had taken national measures to restrict the use of Bisphenol A. France focussed on baby bottles only, while Denmark targeted also other food contact materials intended for children.
The Commission asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to assess the new scientific evidence and EFSA delivered its opinion in September 2010. It concluded that Bisphenol A is safe up to a daily intake of 0.05 miligrams per kilo of bodyweight. The exposure of all groups of the population is below this limit. However, EFSA also raised some questions about the possible impact of BPA on infants, and concluded that more robust data on the areas of uncertainty are needed.
In January 2011 the Commission adopted Directive 2011/8/EU, which provides for a ban prohibiting the manufacture in the EU of baby bottles containing BPA (March 1) and a ban on the placing on the market and import into the EU of such products (June 1).
The provisions on BPA are now included in Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 on plastic food contact materials amended by Regulation (EU) No 321/2011.