Updated 27 June 2016

SA bans BPA in baby bottles

Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has banned the manufacturing, importation, exportation and sale of all infant feeding bottles containing Bisphenol A (BPA) in South Africa.

These new regulations were published in the October 21 edition of the Government Gazette with immediate effect.

The South African ban against BPA in baby bottles is a first for an African country.  Other countries that have already banned BPA in baby bottles include Canada, Denmark, France, China and Malaysia.

According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), BPA 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. When babies drink the milk, the BPA molecules are absorbed into their bodies that are still developing and therefore much more vulnerable.

"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 hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer," Cansa warns in a press release.

Cansa played a crucial role in raising awareness about the dangers of BPA and calling for a national ban of the chemical.

Is your baby's bottle safe?
  • If the bottle has a number 7 and the letters PC or OTHER underneath it, replace it immediately! PC stands for "polycarbonate". BPA is a basic constituent of polycarbonate plastic, which means it can never be "BPA free".
  • If the bottle has the number 7 and a T, PA or PES underneath it, it is a BPA free plastic and is fine.
  • If it has a 5 and the letters PP underneath it, the bottle is made of polypropylene and is BPA free and safe.
  • If there is no number on the bottle at all, and it's made of clear hard plastic, rather play it safe and replace the bottle.
Cansa is offering BPA-free baby bottles in exchange for those that contain the chemical at its offices countrywide.

 - (Health24, October 2011)

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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. For more information, visit

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