Study shows use of banned synthetic in feeding bottles

Tabassum Barnagarwala
In 2015, BIS India had banned the use of polycarbonates or any material where BPA is used for manufacturing feeding bottles while observing that an infant s health is at risk due to the chemical s leaching. (Representational image)

Despite a 2015 ban by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on the use of chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) in the manufacture of infant feeding bottles, a recent study conducted in seven states and Delhi has shown that the regulation is hardly followed, with laboratory tests showing concentrates of the banned synthetic compound in plastic bottles.

Across Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Manipur, 20 random branded and non-branded samples of feeding bottles and sippy-cups were tested at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. All the 20 bottles showed leaching of BPA ranging from 0.9 to 10.5 parts per billion.

BPA is associated with the increased risks of breast and prostate cancer, brain and thyroid abnormalities, infertility, heart diseases, diabetes, early puberty, and obesity, the study observed. While samples from Gujarat had maximum BPA concentration, at 10.5 ppb, a sample from Kerala had the least BPA presence at 0.9 ppb. In Maharashtra, the samples had BPA ranging between 1.9 to 4.8 ppb.

We wanted to check compliance level by manufacturers. The Indian regulatory testing mechanism for BPA is poor. Several countries have a strict regulation against its use in feeding bottles. India needs a stronger framework, said the study s co-author, Piyush Mohapatra.

Following the study, conducted by NGO Toxics Link, a plastic packaging sectional committee in BIS is set to discuss the report. BPA is not allowed while manufacturing feeding bottles. We will have to check whether the laboratory that tested these bottles is NABL accredited and followed standard testing protocol, said Vijay Kumar, from petrochemical department of BIS.

BAP is used to produce polycarbonates that is widely used in making plastic containers and bottles. The material is known for clarity, transparency and durability. Multiple studies, however, have shown that BPA leaches into water or food from inner lining of the containers. Apart from the risk of breast and prostrate cancer, the chemical resembles estrogen hormone functions in the body and affects growth and body functions.

In 2015, BIS India had banned the use of polycarbonates or any material where BPA is used for manufacturing feeding bottles while observing that an infant s health is at risk due to the chemical s leaching. Countries like Canada, US, France, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa and Turkey have banned the use of BPA in making infant feeding bottles.