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Canada Declares BPA a Toxin

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Ottawa, ONThe Canadian government has officially declared the plastic-making compound known as BPA – or bisphenol-A to be toxic, making it the first country in the world to do so.

The decision represents the final regulatory step by the government, following a rigourous four-year study which resulted in Health Canada banning BPA from polycarbonate plastic baby bottles. Health Canada also asked infant food manufacturers to remove the substance from baby formula packaging.

Female fetus exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) may increase the risk of breast cancer later in life. BPA is an artificial estrogenic compound widely used in plastics for food containers, including baby bottles, canned food linings and Gaiam water bottles. BPA may increase growth of human breast cancer cells and may be also implicated in the development of other diseases such as prostate cancer and brain tissue damages.

Earlier this year, data by Statistics Canada gathered from a survey of Canadians showed that 91 percent of Canadians have the substance in their bodies. Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence, an advocacy group, told The Globe and Mail that finding traces of the chemical in nearly all people in the country is "cause for significant concern."

The Globe notes in their coverage that "critics of the chemical want Canada to extend a BPA ban to all food and beverage cans, and not just those to which babies might be exposed, suggesting that the debate over the safety of the material is unlikely to subside."

BPA is used in can liners to help preserve food, but trace amounts find their way into humans because the chemical can leach from the containers.



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