Following the decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban industrial chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic infant feeding bottles and sippy cups, an environmental and health advocacy group has urged senators to re-file a Senate bill prohibiting the said substance in baby food packaging, containers and other child care articles.
“The re-filing and expedited consideration of the Senate bill authored by Senators Nancy Binay and Koko Pimentel, which was recommended for approval by two Senate Committees of the 17th Congress, is very timely as this will reinforce the recently-issued ban on BPA in infant feeding bottles and sippy cups,” said Thony Dizon, the group’s representative said on Saturday.
Last 9 August, Department of Health Undersecretary and concurrent FDA Officer-in-Charge Rolando Enrique Domingo issued FDA Circular 2019-004 “to better protect the health of the children and better reduce exposure” to BPA, a known endocrine disrupting chemical or EDC.
At the last Congress, the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship and the Committee on Health and Demography recommended the approval of Senate Bill 2170 entitled “An Act Prohibiting the Use of BPA in Baby Food Packaging, Containers and Other Child Care Articles, Providing for Its Replacement with Safer Alternatives,” with Senators Binay and Pimentel as authors.
The committee report recommending the approval of the said bill was signed by 14 senators from both the majority and minority blocs of the 17th Congress, nine of whom are sitting as members of the 18th Congress, including Binay and Pimentel as well as Senators Sonny Angara, Franklin Drilon, Win Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, Ralph Recto, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
“It will be a great service for the nation, especially for our young children, if our incumbent lawmakers will re-file and re-approve this public health measure, which has already hurdled and passed the required legislative deliberations,” Dizon added.
Senate Bill 2170 states that “no person or entity shall manufacture, sell, import or distribute in commerce 1) any baby food or beverage packaging, container or any child care article containing BPA, and 2) any infant formula or baby food stored in a packaging, container or children care article containing BPA.”
The bill further states that “manufacturers of child care articles are duty-bound to use safer alternatives as replacement of BPA.”
Under this bill, violators shall be fined not less than P50,000 but not more than P300,000, or imprisoned for not less than one year but not more than five years or both, upon the discretion of the court.
The bill assigns the Department of Trade and Industry as the implementing agency in coordination with the Departments of Health and Interior and Local Government.
According to a guide published by the Endocrine Society and IPEN (a civil society network promoting safe chemicals policies and practices), “most people are exposed by consuming food and beverages into which BPA has leached from the container.” The leaching is said to be enhanced by environmental factors such as heat, sunlight, and acidity,
“As of 2014, nearly 100 epidemiological studies have been published associating BPA with human health effects, most notably disorders of reproduction, behavior and energy balance,” the guide reported.
“Several agencies including the WHO and the National Toxicology Program have expressed concern regarding the impact of BPA on fetal brain development and behavior. Evidence from numerous animal models has shown that developmental BPA exposure elevates anxiety, aggression, and other behaviors effects, which have now been reported in children,” the guide noted.