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Warning on plastic bottles must be heeded - Greens

29 February 2008

Warning on plastic bottles must be heeded - Greens

The Ministry of Health has a responsibility to warn New Zealand parents that heating plastic baby bottles releases hormonal substances that can interfere with the body's endocrine systems, Green MP Sue Kedgley said today.

Ms Kedgley was responding to calls from Professor Karin Michels, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard University, that plastics and plasticisers used in everyday products like bottles release substances like Bisthenol A, which may linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

Ms Kedgley said the potential for plastics and plasticisers to disrupt the endocrine or hormonal system and increase the risk of breast cancer has been raising the concerns of medical researchers for some time, and the Ministry of Health had a responsibility to warn consumers about any potential risks.

"Hundreds of parents are buying plastic baby bottles, and heating them, oblivious to the risks. It's time the Ministry was upfront and launched a public information campaign highlighting these risks to parents.

Ms Kedgley said the Health Select Committee had recently recommended that an expert advisory panel of scientists be set up to investigate endocrine disrupting chemicals in everyday use. It had also recommended information campaigns to increase public awareness of the links between common household chemicals and breast cancer, so that New Zealanders could limit their exposure to potentially harmful chemicals that are used in daily living.

Ms Kedgley said the Government had yet to respond to the committee's recommendations.

"Given the potential risks, the Government has a responsibility to take a precautionary approach, work to minimise our exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals."


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