Canada Could be First to Call Bisphenol A Toxic

Canada Could be First to Call Bisphenol A Toxic

In anticipation of Health Canada declaring bisphenol A (BPA) a dangerous substance harmful to people and the environment, retailers across Canada have pulled BPA-containing items from their shelves.

The government department was expected to make its announcement this week, according to a Globe and Mail report, though an announcement could come as late as May. By labeling BPA a dangerous substance, Health Canada would make it possible to label the chemical as toxic and lead to regulations or a ban.

BPA is widely used in consumer products. It is the primary component of the shatterproof plastic polycarbonate and is found in baby bottles, reusable water bottles, DVDs, CDs, resins within tin cans and hard plastic toys and items.

Hudson's Bay Company, Canadian Tire, Forzani Group, Home Depot and Wal-Mart Canada have announced they'll no longer sell certain items with BPA. Others, such as Lululemon Athletica and Mountain Equipment Co-op, had already stopped selling products that contain BPA.

Forzani Group, which runs more than 500 sporting good stores, announced it will pull water bottles containing BPA, replace then with BPA-free bottles and offer refunds to customers who bring back BPA-containing bottles with a receipt. Wal-Mart Canada will stop selling baby bottles, pacifiers, food containers and water bottles that contain BPA, and the chain intends to set up its cash registers to prevent sales of such products in case they aren't pulled from shelves quickly.

Health Canada began investigating BPA last year as part of a review of about 200 chemicals the government deemed need further analysis, according to the CBC.

BPA is a concern because it can leach from containers and products, especially when they are heated, into food and beverages. The chemical mimics the hormone estrogen and although a definitive link between exposure to BPA and human health problems has not been established, studies on animals have linked it to precancerous tumors, urinary tract problems, early puberty, cancer, obesity and infertility.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently released a National Toxicology Program Draft Brief on Bisphenol A, declaring it has some concern over the chemical's effect on fetuses, infants, and children at current exposure levels. The concern comes from laboratory animal studies concluding exposure to BPA during development can cause changes in behavior and the brain, prostate gland, mammary gland, and the age at which females attain puberty.
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