Guy Bertrand Pouokam
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widely used chemical in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, also used in food contact materials, leading to potential consumer exposure through food. A very large number of publications on the toxicity and endocrine activity of BPA in animals have been published. There have been considerable discrepancies in outcome among these studies, both with respect to the nature of the effects observed and, where reported, the levels at which they occur. It is notable that the effects in some of the research studies were described at dose levels several orders of magnitude below those at which effects were reported in the standard guideline (regulatory) studies following OECD test guidelines. This has led to controversy about the safety of BPA in the scientific community and has resulted in different risk management decisions taken by national authorities. The issue has also received much attention in the media and in the general (WHO, http://www.who.int/foodsafety/chem/chemicals/bisphenol/en/public).
Infant bottles are sold in pharmacy and common shops near hospitals and in open markets. Many types of bottles proposed to population are imported from different countries and by different manufacturers.
We made a preliminary investigation to see whether sold baby bottles were labeled “Bisphenol A free”.
A total of 32 pharmacies and 18 shops in 3 cities were visited: Foumbot and Bafoussam in the West region and Yaoundé in the Center region.
From our findings, only two types of plastic baby bottles are sold in pharmacy, one of them carried the labeled “Bisphenol free” ( the majority) and the prices was almost the same (3500–3700 fcfa, i.e. 5 € depending on the city around).
None of the bottles found in shops carried the label “Bisphenol A free” instead we could read “No Nitrosamine” and were made of polycarbonate. All these bottles came from different manufacturers and countries; the prices ranges from 900 to 1500 fcfa depending on the purchase place, i.e. around 1.5 to 2.2 €, almost four times cheapest than the one found in pharmacy.
Due to their low economic income and lack of communication on the possible risk from the plastic bottles people mostly purchase cheapest bottles, i.e. non label Bisphenol A free.
Therefore, there is a real risk of infant contamination to Bisphenol A. In addition, cumulative exposure of infants to Bisphenol A could be of interest and need more attention.It was noticed also that people working in these drugs store themselves were not aware of the issues of risk related to BPA from plastics. The possible justification could be that they are not trained pharmacist but only sellers. There is a great need to start communication campaign on risks related to BPA towards all the stakeholders.
20th September 2010
Guy Bertrand Pouokam