Wellington, May 13 : A Canterbury toxicologist has warned against the use of plastic bottles for feeding babies, as it may contain potentially harmful chemicals that may lead to premature puberty and breast cancer.
Baby bottles are often made up of polycarbonate, a plastic that contains bisphenol A.
According to Professor Ian Shaw, bisphenol A was one of a range of chemicals called oestrogenic compounds, which mimicked oestrogen in the body and influenced the cellular activity.
"There is an extra risk for babies being exposed to the oestrogenic compounds because of their size, which means they get a higher dose," the NZPA quoted Shaw, as saying.
"If it's a bottle, they are also sucking on it every day for six months or so. If you are erring on the side of caution, you shouldn't be exposing children to them," he added.
He said that a review of information about the effects of bisphenol A was urgently required. Of particular concern were products containing oestrogenic compounds made in countries with low manufacturing standards.
However, plastics authority Dr Peter Plimmer said he would feel confident feeding one of the children in his family with a plastic baby bottle.
He further added that international research done on the bottles had found them to be safe.
Shaw also said that combined effects of these chemicals are one of the major concerns among the scientists and they are even undertaking research projects to completely understand the impact.
On one hand Canada has introduced a ban on the import and sale of plastic polycarbonate products, on the other New Zealand's Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is monitoring a review of research by Europe's combined food agency into the dangers of bisphenol A but has not yet introduced any bans.