Bisphenol A (BPA) – a chemical banned in baby bottles in Canada and three US states – is still used in baby bottles sold by some of the UK’s biggest baby-feeding equipment retailers.
The hormonal substance is used in polycarbonate and added to plastic to make the material tougher, but scientists have linked the synthetically produced substance to breast cancer, heart disease, obesity, hyperactivity and other disorders.
With the support of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), baby bottles containing BPA have been banned in Canada and the three US states of Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin after peer-reviewed studies linked the chemical to serious health issues in laboratory animals.
Mothercare and Boots have introduced BPA-free bottles to their own ranges, yet both retailers insist that this is for the benefit of customer choice – and not a concession to critical scientists – as BPA bottles are still within European guidelines.
While European standards are useful guidelines for customers and retailers, in some cases Which? tests beyond these criteria. When testing children’s car seats we add additional mechanics to the standard European checks for safety. Have a look at our full overview of how we test child car seats including the 12 child car seats we think you should avoid.
Mothercare baby bottles
Mothercare said it takes safety ‘very seriously’, baby bottles containing BPA still comply with European guidelines. The bottles will continue to be sold at Mothercare until the old range has been phased out – a voluntary process which was expected to be complete in January 2010, but is now predicted for autumn 2010 after a slow movement of stock.
A Mothercare spokesperson said: ‘While we are aware of the moves in the US and Canada, the current scientific guidelines in the UK remain unchanged.
‘In 2009 we introduced BPA-free alternatives to our product ranges in response to customer feedback, and Mothercare remains committed to phasing out polycarbonate bottles containing BPA in its own-brand feeding and drinking ranges.’
Boots baby bottles
Boots now makes all of its own-brand baby bottles from polypropylene, which is free from BPA. Again, Boots says this decision has been made in the interests of customer choice rather than a belief in the dangerous properties of BPA.
A Boots spokesperson said: ‘There are only a small number of the now discontinued Boots-own baby bottles containing BPA, currently on sale within some Boots stores.
They continued: ‘We know that many of our customers prefer BPA-free bottles. We aim to listen to our customers and provide a choice of products we know they want, therefore we have chosen to meet this demand and sell BPA-free bottles.’
Mothercare and Boots both said bottles containing BPA are clearly labelled.