Updated 09 April 2013

Beware of BPA in baby bottles

The danger of BPA in baby bottles has been highlighted again by the Cancer Association of South Africa. They are renewing their call for a national ban.

The danger of BPA in baby bottles has been highlighted again by the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa). They are renewing their call for a national BPA ban.

BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical that is found in polycarbonate plastics used to make many kinds of household articles including food and drink packaging such as water and baby bottles. It is also found in metal linings of some canned foods.  

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that BPA is a harmful chemical that should not be allowed to contaminate food. It has been found to play a role in numerous diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and liver disease.

BPA molecules absorbed

BPA, however, is especially dangerous for babies as BPA molecules easily migrate into milk and other fluids in the bottle - especially when it is heated or microwaved. According to Cansa, BPA molecules are absorbed into babies’ bodies when they drink the milk.

"The BPA acts as an artificial hormone and can disrupt the baby's hormonal development, leading to serious health problems later in life. These include premature puberty, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer," Cansa warns in a press release. "Clearly no infant should be exposed to a chemical that can increase the risk of developing above diseases."

The use of BPA in products such as baby bottles has already been banned in countries such as Canada, Denmark, France, China and Malaysia, whereas a number of European governments are currently evaluating its dangers.

Ban in South Africa

Cansa hopes to follow suit in the near future by having BPA baby bottles banned in South Africa.

"The Cancer Assocation of South Africa calls on every conscious citizen to support the honourable Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, in his stated intention to ban the import and manufacturing of BPA (bisphenol A) in baby bottles," says Cansa CEO Sue Janse van Rensburg. "For the sake of all our children, we need all your support, as our focus is on the most vulnerable, the child.

“However, Cansa is also currently looking into all food and drink packaging, specifically tins as the inside lining of most tins contains BPA. We’re investigating other alternatives which unfortunately are not yet readily available in South Africa,” Janse van Rensburg adds.

Though some South African companies have stepped up to take responsibility and have committed themselves to manufacturing BPA-free baby bottles, there are, unfortunately, still many BPA-containing baby bottles available in SA stores.

What can you do about BPA? Cansa suggests the following:

1. AVOID any bottle that is not completely free of BPA. If you're not sure, don't take chances. Get your baby a new one with the Cansa Smart Choice seal. NUK produces a range of BPA-free bottles, the first brand to exhibit the Cansa Smart Choice Seal. For a list of BPA-free baby bottles, click here.

2. SHARE this important news with everyone you know who has a baby. We need a coalition of concerned friends and family members to spread the word as widely and quickly as possible, for the sake of our children's health.

3. JOIN the BPA FREE BABIES group on Facebook to stay up to date with breaking news and make your voice heard.

4. SIGN the online petition calling on our Minister of Health to ban the use of BPA in baby bottles. To sign the petition, click here and scroll down.

For more info about the danger of BPA in baby bottles, listen to the following radio interview with Dr Carl Albrecht from Cansa:

- (Birgit Ottermann, Health24, June 2011)

 Read more:

What is Bisphenol A (BPA)?

Cansa endorses BPA-free baby bottles
BPA: lurking danger in our food supply?


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Cancer expert

CANSA’s purpose is to lead the fight against cancer in South Africa. Its mission is to be the preferred non-profit organisation that enables research, educates the public and provides support to all people affected by cancer. Questions are answered by CANSA’s Head of Health Professor Michael Herbst and Head of Advocacy Magdalene Seguin. For more information, visit

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules