Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Philips Avent's position on BPA

What is Bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastic is used for baby bottles (as well as water bottles, medical devices, sports equipment etc) because it prevents cracking and shattering that can lead to injuries. Polycarbonate is approved for use in materials which come into contact with food in every single market where our products are sold including North America and Europe.

Why do some scientists think that BPA used in bottles is dangerous?
Some scientists are worried that this chemical substance, Bisphenol A (BPA), can leach at dangerous levels from the plastic and into the liquid held in the baby bottle especially when bottles are heated to extreme temperatures.The use of plastic for baby bottles is regulated by authorities such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The US FDA evaluates BPA as a “food additive” and has found that BPA may be “safely used as components of articles that contact food.” As recently as June 2008, the FDA reconfirmed its long standing view regarding the safety of polycarbonate for food contact, including its use with baby feeding bottles.

Do Philips AVENT baby bottles contain Bisphenol A (BPA)?
The Philips AVENT Airflex reusable bottle is made from polycarbonate and, therefore, contains BPA. We also make a BPA-free reusable bottle for parents who are seeking alternatives to polycarbonate plastic.

Are you introducing a BPA-free bottle?
Yes. The Philips AVENT Natural Feeding Bottle is made from polyethersulfone (PES) - a BPA-free plastic. It is currently available at Babies R Us and Target.

Does that mean you're recalling bottles that contain BPA?
No. We have full confidence in our bottles and we see no reason to withdraw them. This point of view is endorsed by regulators and governments all over the world who have declared that BPA can be used in products that come into contact with food.

How will I know if a product is BPA free?
Packaging will identify whether the bottles are made from polycarbonate, polypropylene or polyethersulfone (PES). We will also label our PES bottle 'Bisphenol A free'.

You've said to parents that you are going to provide greater transparency. How are you going to do that?
We wholeheartedly believe that parents should be equipped with as much information as they require; to help them make informed decisions particularly in an environment where there is a lot of speculation and confusion. For that reason, we will be providing information about the materials we use on the packaging of our baby feeding products. Specifically, the packaging will now identify whether the bottles are made from polycarbonate, polypropelyne or polyethersulfone (PES). We will also label our products Bisphenol A free.

What else are you doing to help parents?
We have put together an online resource aimed at helping parents better understand the materials used in the manufacture of its products; providing answers to their questions on the use of polycarbonate plastic; and directing them to additional sources of information.

Are you phasing out polycarbonate?
We have been manufacturing baby bottles for nearly 25 years and we completely stand by our products and see no reason to phase out polycarbonate at this stage although we will continue to look at all of the options.

Are Philips AVENT's polycarbonate baby bottles safe?
As recently as April 2008, the FDA reconfirmed its long standing view regarding the safety of polycarbonate for food contact, including baby feeding bottles concluding that "...products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects." This conclusion is consistent with studies conducted by regulatory bodies in Europe and Japan.

What is your response to Health Canada's proposed ban?
Health Canada's assessment is still in draft form and it has not yet banned products containing BPA, although we recognize it may do so after the public comment period. Nonetheless, we will carefully review whatever ruling Health Canada makes and we will continue to abide by the regulations set forth in Canada, as we do in every country where AVENT products are sold.

What will you do if the ban is enforced?
We will of course adhere to all of the regulations as set forth by Health Canada. In the meantime, we will continue to provide choice to Canadian parents by supplying our new BPA free baby bottle, VIA system, Tempo system and Magic range.

Isn't it true that you have only reacted because of the ban by Health Canada and subsequent negative coverage in the media?
No - our new BPA-free bottle has been in development for more than a year to ensure it meets the exacting standards parent demand, including offering the same anti-colic benefits of our other reusable bottles.

What temperature is safe to heat the bottles?
Some studies have concluded that the degree to which bisphenol A migrates from polycarbonate containers into liquid appears to depend more on the temperature of the liquid, i.e., more migration with higher temperatures. However, regulatory bodies, including the FDA have reviewed these studies and continue to indicate that bottles with BPA may be used to contain foods and liquids.If you are concerned about what temperature to heat your bottles, Philips AVENT suggests using a bottle warmer that can be programmed to heat liquid according to volume, which will help regulate temperature. We do not recommend microwaving bottles as it can alter the composition of breastmilk and formula and may create “hot spots” in the liquid.

What number are Philips AVENT bottles? I've heard that #7 are should be avoided.
The number 7 that many people have referred to does NOT indicate whether an item contains BPA. It is a globally used labeling scheme that tells people the type of plastic and how / if it can be recycled. The number 7 is used for all polycarbonates including those that contain BPA as well as those that DO NOT CONTAIN BPA. It also covers a number of other plastics that are not polycarbonate. So, simply looking for recycling code 7 will not determine whether it contains BPA. To help parents, Philips AVENT will be introducing clearer labeling on its baby feeding bottles.

Why does no number appear on the Philips AVENT bottle?
These symbols were created to identify plastics for recycling purposes. Given the amount of confusion in the market place, though, Philips AVENT is reviewing its policy alongside creating clearer labeling both on its bottles and on packaging.

Isn't it just safer to use glass bottles or bottles made from other materials?
Parents can choose from a wide variety of materials and we respect that choice. That is why we offer BPA-free solutions in our product range. That’s also the reason underpinning the expansion of our BPA product line beyond bottles to include pacifiers and breast pumps.

Does Philips AVENT agree with the advice not to put boiling water in the bottles?
As far as BPA leaching is concerned, while there is some evidence of elevated leaching at high temperatures, any leaching is far below the limits set by EFSA and the FDA. However, if parents are concerned we suggest they boil water in their kettle and allow it to cool in the kettle for a time before pouring it directly into a sterilized bottle.

Does Philips AVENT agree with the advice not to use scratched or damaged bottles?
Yes. This is already indicated in our directions for use where it states: Excessive concentrations of detergents may eventually cause plastic components to crack. Should this occur, replace immediately. We give this advice to consumers not because of BPA, but purely because cracked bottles can be dangerous as liquid may leak out from the bottle and result in injury to the infant.

Are microwave sterilizers safe to use?
We can speak only for the Philips AVENT microwave sterilizer. Microwave sterilizers have been used for a number of years and provide a fast, efficient and effective method of sterilizing for busy parents. The Philips AVENT microwave steriliser passes all relevant safety standards. It also does not contain BPA as it is made from Polypropylene.

Are steam sterilizers safe to use?
We can speak for the Philips AVENT steam sterilizer only. This sterilizer passes all relevant global safety standards for electrical products. It also does not contain BPA as it is made from Polypropylene material.

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