Literatus: Not all plastics have BPA-A A +A
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
EARLY this year we knew of the piece of legislation—Senate Bill 3121—that Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago submitted for deliberation that aimed to prohibit the use of plastics containing BPA in manufacturing baby products.
But like diseases and drugs, plastics are not created equal. There are plastics that are not manufactured in a way that it becomes likely for them to contain BPA. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) identified these plastics as those “marked with recycle codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6.” It also noted that since 1957, BPA has been used to manufacture hard plastic food containers such as baby bottles and reusable cups, not to mention the lining of metal food beverage cans, including canned liquid infant formula.
However, even those marked 3 or 5 are not all made with BPA, it disclosed after a study in 2008.
Type 3 Plastic is called the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. Plastics in this group may contain BPA as an antioxidant (mixed in additives) that increases the fluidity of a material during the manufacturing process. It is particularly the case in the so-called “flexible PVC.” BPA is not used in rigid PVC plastics such as pipe, windows, and siding. However in my travels toward the southern part of Cebu, I noticed black pipes for water supply that snake along the road, indicating their flexible nature. By definition, these pipes may contain BPA.
Type 7, or “other” types of plastics, including epoxy resins, may contain BPA.
In its website, USDHHS announced that six manufacturers “representing more than 90 percent of the US market” confirmed they have ceased manufacturing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the US markets as of January 2009. That gives us some comfort, of course. But the phrase “for the US markets” does not erase the question that naturally crops up: What about for the international markets like the Philippines?
Apparently only our Department of Health can definitely answer that, and hopefully based on actual studies it conducted.
USDHHS stated though that “the benefit of a stable source of good nutrition from infant formula and food outweighs the potential risk of BPA exposure.” This potential risk comes from the fact that no studies yet have been conducted to determine clear toxicity of BPA to humans, infants or adults.
In this age of commercialism, Dan Brown’s thought makes for an apt reminder: “Wealth without wisdom can often end in disaster” (Lost Symbol, 2009). That’s doubly tragic if the casualties are the unknowing consumers among us.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 27, 2012.