Industry body says SA plastics BPA free

The use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in food containers and specifically in baby bottles has given rise to many chemical scare stories, urban myths and internet-rumours spreading like wildfire in recent months. After the Minister of Health banned the manufacturing, importation, exportation and sale of polycarbonate (PC) infant bottles containing BPA, Plastics SA received numerous enquiries about the use and safety of products containing BPA.

Plastics SA, the mouthpiece of the plastics industry, is proud to announce that all plastics food packaging, including baby bottles and other beverage bottles manufactured in South Africa are 100 % BPA free, and pose no threat to the consumer's health or the environment.

"The complexity and technical nature of chemicals make it easy for misinformation to spread", says Anton Hanekom, Executive Director of Plastics SA. "This, combined with the fact that emotional arguments are often easier to believe, results in the perpetuation of misinformation", he says.

In order to provide the public, media and interested parties with an unbiased viewpoint that is based on scientific evidence and well-researched, documented facts, Plastics SA has prepared a position paper to clarify the misconceptions on BPA. (This is the first of a series of position statements and fact sheets on plastics as a material and the plastics industry).

What is BPA?

BPA is a chemical used to make polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy. BPA is the building block, from which these plastics are made. PC positively contributes to the consumer's modern day comforts and has become indispensable because of its impact and shatter resistance, clarity, high heat resistance, and electrical resistance. It is used for safety glasses, visors and lenses, CDs and DVDs, computers, kitchen appliances, power tools, sports equipment (helmets and goggles), medical devices and some food and drink containers," Anton explains.

Issues of BPA

Some reports suggest BPA has estrogenic effects in laboratory animals where large doses of BPA were administered. Concerns were raised about the safety of PC products, particularly baby bottles. Very small amounts of BPA can migrate from PC containers into food and drink during use. Potential human exposure to BPA is at least 400 to a 1 000 times lower that the accepted safe daily limit of 0,05mg/kg body weight/day established.

Much research has been done to identify any possible human effects from BPA on the human body, leading to an impressive amount of evidence that supports the safety of BPA for use in its current applications.

According to the Plastics SA’s Position Paper on BPA, all plastics food packaging manufactured in South Africa are 100 % BPA free, posing no threat to the consumer’s health or the environment.

Issued on behalf of Plastics SA

(Sapa, November 2011) 

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