03 December 2010
By Vishakha Sharma
European Union has banned the use of feeding bottles made of toxic chemical Bisphenol A. Till India makes a similar move, adopt safe–feeding practices to ensure the health of babies
If you are using plastic feeding bottles to give milk to your infant, beware! Infants are at risk of falling ill as these bottles contain a harmful chemical – Bisphenol A, (BPA) – which is under the scanner of health experts for a while.
BPA turns harmful to infants, impairing even their growth, as it can leach into the milk or other liquid diet which you give to your baby, using the popular polycarbonate feeding bottles. While the European Union (EU) has banned the use of BPA in the manufacture of feeding bottles, strangely there is no call for proscribing or regulating the use of the toxic chemical in India.
The EU ban will come into effect in EU countries next year. Pune Mirror spoke to a few paediatricians in Pune to find more about the harmful BPA and the advice they have to offer to parents, particularly to mothers, for safe feeding of their babies.
Dr Dasmit Singh, paediatric surgeon, said, "Plastic baby bottles used abroad are still better but in India the condition is worse. BPA which is present in plastic is a harmful chemical and can cause problems to infants who are being fed through bottles. When hot water or milk is poured into them, the impurities mix into the liquid even more and faster, too."
Dr Pramod Jog, another paediatric surgeon, held a similar view. He said, "We never advocate the use of plastic baby bottles as they are harmful. Instead, we ask mothers to use the bowl and spoon used at home after breast feeding for six months."
Dr Sachin Shah, director of paediatrics, Birla Hospital, said, "All hard plastic bottles contain BPA and a debate is going on for almost a deacde now whether BPA is harmful or not. The problem is that usually the percentage of BPA used in the manufacture of plastic bottles is not mentioned. Hence it is difficult to know how harmful it is. BPA, obviously, if used in high quantity (in the manufacture of bottle) is toxic."
"Foreign brands (of feeding bottles) too have some percentage of BPA in them. Since there is no ban in India, as is elsewhere, we urge not to use the plastic bottles. If at all bottles need to be used, then soft plastic bottles should be used, as it contains comparatively less percentage of impurities or harmful constituents. Another important thing to remember always is to never put hot boiling water or milk in the plastic bottles. It should always be brought to room temperature first and then given for consumption. The plastic bottles should also be kept far away from direct sunlight," Dr Shah added.
- As far as possible use regular bowl and spoon to feed babies
- Avoid using plastic feeding bottles. If at all they have to be used, use soft plastic bottles as they contain comparatively less percentage of impurities or harmful constituents
- Water or milk should always be brought to room temperature first, and then poured to the feeding bottles
- Plastic bottles should be kept far away from direct sunlight