Published March 3, 2011
China soon may ban the use of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic baby bottles and other baby food containers, according to a Beijing News report published today by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
China Researches Danger of BPA to Infants
Chinese authorities are currently conducting research to assess BPA's potential health effects on infants, said Li Ning, deputy director of the nutrition and food safety institute that is part of the Chinese Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
In February, China's Ministry of Health sought public opinion by posting to its official web site a draft list of substances that might be allowed or disallowed in food packaging. The draft listed BPA as banned from use in any containers having direct contact with baby food, a clear indication that Chinese food safety officials are close to issuing a limited ban on BPA to safeguard the health of infants.
China Ban on BPA May Exceed Most Nations' Standards
If China follows through with the proposed ban on BPA, it would be taking a stronger stand on BPA as a public health risk than many Western nations, including the United States.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after initially declaring BPA safe for all uses, has expressed concern about the chemical but has issued no bans. Several states have banned BPA for various uses, however, and last October  Canada declared BPA toxic. Meanwhile, the European Union has issued a ban that is set to take effect June 1, 2011.
Concern and Controversy Over BPA Increases
Concern over the potential health effects of BPA have been growing steadily over the past few years as study after study has shown that BPA acts as an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen, a natural hormone, increasing the incidence of heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities in adults as well as brain and hormone development disorders in fetuses, infants and young children.
Despite growing evidence of the health risks associated with BPA, some politicians contend that no danger exists. In addition, some scientists who clearly recognize the risks believe that a ban would be premature. As a result, the BPA controversy escalates as consumer fears—especially among parents and grandparents of young children—continue to grow.