TORONTO – Canada said Friday it was declaring a controversial chemical widely used in food packaging a toxic substance, allowing it carry out a promised ban on plastic baby bottles made with bisphenol A.
The Canadian government published its decision Friday to place the chemical, known as BPA, on the toxic list and said it would issue a formal declaration over the weekend.
“Today’s confirmation of our ban on BPA in baby bottles proves that our government did the right thing in taking action to protect the health and environment for all Canadians,” said Environment Minister John Baird in a statement Friday.
The announcement comes six months after Canada’s health ministry labeled BPA as dangerous. BPA is used in hardened plastics and in a wide range of consumer goods, including the lining of food cans, eyeglass lenses and hundreds of household items.
Health Minister Tony Clement said a report on bisphenol A has found the chemical endangers people, particularly newborns and infants, and the environment, citing concerns that the chemical in polycarbonate products and epoxy linings can migrate into food and beverages.
The scientific debate over BPA could drag on for years. The European Union and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say the chemical is safe. However, the FDA is awaiting word from a scientific panel expected to deliver an independent risk assessment later this month.
The chemicals industry maintains that polycarbonate bottles contain little BPA and leach traces considered too low to harm humans.