New Delhi: Sippy cups for babies are unregulated and around 77% of the samples tested in Delhi contain bisphenol-A (BPA), a harmful chemical that can impact mental and physical health of children, said a study released by Toxics Link on Wednesday.
For their study, ‘Beware of Toxic Sippy Cups: An Investigative Study On Bisphenol-A In Sippy Cups in India’, Toxics Link randomly collected 13 samples of sippy cups of various brands from different markets of Delhi and got them tested at the Shriram Institute for Industrial Research (SIIR).
“The study found that, out of 13 samples collected and tested, 10 were found to have BPA. Almost 77% samples were found to contain BPA in them,” said Toxics Link, a Delhi-based non-governmental organization working on environmental issues.
BPA is commonly used in the manufacture of plastic products that are used by babies and children.
The study warned that “besides disrupting the functioning of hormones in babies, BPA negatively impacts the behavioural and emotional aspects of girls up to three years of age”.
“Among boys, it leads to depression and anxiety. BPA is also linked to development of early puberty in girl children,” the study said.
“In one of the samples, BPA concentration was found to be as high as 14.9 ppm (parts per million). Surprisingly, some of the products labelled as BPA-free, being sold in the market, were also detected with significant amounts of BPA in them,” said Piyush Mohapatra, senior programme coordinator, Toxics Link, while stressing that consumers have no means to verify and ensure that what they are buying from the market is safe for their children.
Mohapatra refused to name the brands but said that the samples tested are of leading brands.
The study said that as a precaution many countries have already phased out the use of BPA in sippy cups.
“In India, BPA use has been forbidden in baby feeding bottles but there is no regulation on use of BPA in sippy cups. Most importantly, sippy cups do not fall under the purview of Infant Milk Substitutes, which are covered under the Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992. Surprising that both products are for feeding babies and these are not adequately regulated,” explained the study and sought immediate inclusion of sippy cups under the said regulations.
“Bisphenol is a well known endocrine-disrupting chemical and globally countries are taking actions to completely ban its use in children’s products. There is a need for a comprehensive policy and standards on use of such chemicals in products and prevent its exposure to humans, especially vulnerable populations,” said Ravi Agarwal, director of Toxics Link.
Claiming that many countries across the globe have phased out and banned the use of BPA, the study highlighted that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has found that women with the highest levels of BPA in their blood are more likely to miscarry than women with lower levels.