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ARCHIVED - Survey of Bisphenol A in Canned Powdered Infant Formula Products

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Bureau of Chemical Safety
Food Directorate
Health Products and Food Branch

A WHO Collaborating Centre for Food Contamination Monitoring

July, 2009

Health Canada is the federal department responsible for helping the people of Canada maintain and improve their health. We assess the safety of drugs and many consumer products, help improve the safety of food, and provide information to Canadians to help them make healthy decisions. We provide health services to First Nations people and to Inuit communities. We work with the provinces to ensure our health care system serves the needs of Canadians.

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Health Canada, 2009.

Cat.: H164-79/4-2009E-PDF
ISBN: 978-1-100-12994-5

Help on accessing alternative formats, such as Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (PPT) files, can be obtained in the alternate format help section.

Table of Contents

Background

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the common name for 2,2-(4,4'-dihydroxydiphenyl)propane, 4,4'-isopropylidenediphenol, or 2,2'-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)propane.  It is used as an intermediate in the production of epoxy resins which are used in the internal coating for food and beverage cans to protect the food from direct contact with metal. BPA can migrate from cans with epoxy coating into foods, especially at elevated temperatures (for example, for hot-fill or heat-processed canned foods).  BPA is one of the 23000 chemical substances on the CEPA (Canadian Environmental Protection Act) Domestic Substance List (DSL) identified for further evaluation under government of Canada's Chemical Management Plan (CMP). 

BPA was included in Batch 2 of the Challenge under CMP carried out by Health Canada and Environment Canada.  On October 18, 2008, the Government of Canada released its final assessment report, including the Government’s proposed risk management approaches to reduce Canadian exposure to BPA.  Health Canada has committed to a research and monitoring agenda to further investigate potential human health effects of BPA and improve its understanding of Canadian exposure to this chemical through food sources.  The purpose of this survey was to gather occurrence levels of BPA in canned powdered infant formula products to contribute in updating the BPA exposure estimate for Canadians.

Sampling Plan and Analytical Methodology

The survey covered 38 canned powdered infant formula products marketed under 11 brands by 6 different companies.  The products were purchased in June 2008 from local grocery stores in Ottawa.  Among the 38 products, 31 products were milk based and 7 were soya based.

Health Canada continually works to develop more sensitive methods with detection limits as low as possible for the determination of chemicals in foods in order to support more accurate human exposure assessments. The method used previously by Health Canada for determination of BPA in liquid infant formula products was adapted and validated for the determination of BPA in canned powdered infant formula products. This method, with an average method detection limit (MDL) of 0.13 ng/g*, was used to determine levels of BPA in canned powdered infant formula products that are sold in Canada.  The results of the analyses for each canned powdered infant formula product collected are shown in Table 1

Notes: 

  • Canned powdered infant formula samples were tested as consumed.
  • It should be noted that the absence of any particular brand from this survey means only that the brand was not included in the survey. No particular inference should be drawn from the presence or absence of any brand.
  • Samples represent a “snapshot” of the market at the time of sampling and do not represent market share.  Product names and availability correspond to the time of sampling and may not represent current products on the market.  Differences between brands do not necessarily reflect differences in consumer exposure to BPA.
  • The results shown in Table 1 are generated for research purposes and should not be considered as representative of the distribution of BPA in canned powdered infant formula products or to assist or guide product choices for consumers.

BPA Levels in Canned Powdered Infant Formula Products

Table 1 summarizes the results of the analysis for BPA in samples from canned powdered infant formula products.  BPA was not detected in any of the 38 products for which the average MDL = 0.13 ng/g*.

Health Significance of the Survey Results

In March, 2008, Health Canada’s Food Directorate completed a Health Risk Assessment of BPA from food packaging applications+ to determine exposure estimates to BPA.  Health Canada’s Food Directorate has concluded that:

  • The current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and infants. 
    • The nutritional benefits of baby food products far outweigh any possible risk.
  • In view of uncertainties related to datasets on possible neurodevelopmental and behavioural effects that BPA may have in experimental animals, Health Canada’s Food Directorate has recommended that precaution be exerted on products consumed by the sensitive subset of the population, i.e. infants and newborns, by applying the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle to reduce their exposure to BPA through food packaging applications.

Other international food regulatory agencies – notably in the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia-New Zealand – have reviewed the “Health Risk Assessment of Bisphenol A from Food Packaging Applications+”, prepared by Health Canada’s Food Directorate, and have confirmed that the conclusions reached are supported by the current scientific evidence as described in the document.

Based on the overall weight of evidence, as described in the “Health Risk Assessment of BPA from food packaging applications+", the results of this survey further confirms Health Canada’s previous assessment conclusion that the current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the consumer.

Table 1: Concentrations (ng/g) of BPA in canned powdered infant formula products as consumed

  • It should be noted that the absence of any particular brand from this survey means only that the brand was not included in the survey. No particular inference should be drawn from the presence or absence of any brand.
  • Samples represent a “snapshot” of the market and do not represent market share.  Product names and availability correspond to the time of sampling and may not represent current products on the market.   Differences between brands do not necessarily reflect differences in consumer exposure to BPA.
  • The results shown in the table are exploratory and should not be used to indicate the distribution of BPA in canned infant formula products or to assist or guide product choices for consumers.
 
Company / Manufacturer Brand Name Product Description Type Infant age (months) BPA Concentration (ng/g)
Abbott Laboratories Similac Similac Regular Infant Formula with DigestEase and Immunotide, Step 1 Milk 0 + < MDL
Similac Sensitive Lactose Free Infant Formula.  For Fussiness, Gas or Diarrhea due to Lactose Sensitivity Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Similac Go & Grow, Calcium Enriched, Iron-Fortified Infant Formula with Immunotide, Step2 Milk 6 - 24 < MDL
Similac Go & Grow, Calcium Enriched, Iron-Fortified Infant Formula with Immunotide + Omega-3 and Omega-6, Step2, Value Size Milk 6 - 24 < MDL
Isomil Isomil Advance Soy Infant Formula with Omega-3 and Omega-6, Step 1 Soya 0 + < MDL
Isomil Infant Formula with Soya for Allergy and Sensitivity to Milk Protein, Step 2 for Older Babies Soya 6 - 24 < MDL
Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd. Kirkland Signature Kirkland Infant Formula with Iron Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Loblaws Inc. President's Choice President's Choice Infant Formula, Step 1 Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
President's Choice Infant Formula with Iron, Step 1 Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
President's Choice Infant Formula Plus with Iron + Omega-3 and Omega-6 Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
President's Choice Organics Infant Formula Plus with Iron,   Omega-3 and Omega-6, Step 1 Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
President's Choice Infant Formula Plus with added Iron and Calcium + Omega-3 and Omega-6, Step 2 Milk 6 - 18 < MDL
President's Choice Soya Infant Formula Plus with Iron + Omega 3 and Omega-6, Step 1 Soya 0 - 12 < MDL
Mead Johnson Nutritionals Enfamil Enfamil Infant Formula with Iron, Value Size Milk Birth + < MDL
Enfamil A+ Iron Fortified Infant Formula with LIPIL - Blend of  DHA Omega-3 and ARA Omega-6.  Our Closest Formula to Breast Milk Milk Birth + < MDL
Enfamil A+ Iron Fortified Infant Formula with LIPIL - Blend of DHA Omega-3 and ARA Omega-6. With Gentlease for Fussiness or Gas. Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Enfamil Thickened A+ Iron Fortified Infant Formula with LIPIL - Blend of DHA Omega-3 and ARA Omega-6. For Babies who Spit up Frequently Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Enfamil Lactose Free Iron Fortified Infant Formula. For Common Feeding Problems Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Enfamil Iron Fortified Soy Infant Formula, Milk Free Formula Soya 0 - 12 < MDL
Enfagrow Enfagrow Toddler Nutrition, High in Iron and Calcium, Nutritional Supplement, Plain Flavour Milk 12 + < MDL
Enfagrow Toddler Nutrition, High in Iron and Calcium, Nutritional Supplement, Vanilla Flavour Milk 12 + < MDL
Enfapro Enfapro Calcium Enriched and Iron Fortified Infant Formula.  Helps Build Strong Bones and Teeth Milk 6 + < MDL
Nutramigen Nutramigen Iron Fortified Infant Formula. Hypoallergenic - For Babies with Cow's Milk Allergy Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Nestlé Nutrition Nestlé Nestlé Good Start Iron Fortified Infant Formula, Easier to Digest Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Nestlé Good Start Iron Fortified Infant Formula with Omega-3 and Omega-6 + DHA and ARA (Nutrients Naturally Found in Breast Milk). Easier to Digest Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Nestlé Good Start 2 Iron Fortified Infant Formula with Added Calcium, Easier to Digest Milk 6 - 18 < MDL
Nestlé Good Start 2 Iron Fortified Infant Formula with Added Calcium and Omega-3 and Omega-6 + DHA and ARA (Nutrients Naturally Found in Breast Milk).  Easier to Digest Milk 6 -18 < MDL
Nestlé Follow-Up Transition, Iron Fortified Infant Formula, Calcium Enriched Milk 6 - 18 < MDL
Nestlé Alsoy Iron Fortified Soy Infant Formula, Lactose Free and Vegetarian with Omega-3 and Omega-6 +DHA and ARA (Nutrients Found Naturally in Breast Milk) Soya 0 - 12 < MDL
Nestlé Alsoy 2 Iron Fortified Infant Formula with Added Calcium and Omega-3 and Omega-6 + DHA and ARA (Nutrients Naturally Found in Breast Milk).  Lactose Free and Vegetarian Soya 6 - 24 <MDL
PBM Nutritionals Parent's Choice Parent's Choice Infant Formula with Iron Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Parent's Choice Concentrated Infant Formula with Iron and  Omega-3 and Omega-6 Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Parent's Choice Organic Infant Formula with Iron and a Blend of Lipids DHA + ARA (Nutrients Found Naturally in Breast Milk), with Omega-3 and Omega-6 Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Parent's Choice Gentle Cow's Milk Based Infant Formula Containing Whole Milk Protein and Partially Hydrolyzed Whey Protein with Iron and Omega-3 and Omega-6 Milk 0 - 12 < MDL
Parent's Choice 2 Infant Formula with Iron and Calcium + Omega-3 and Omega-6.  For Older Infants Milk 6 - 18 < MDL
Parent's Choice Toddler Nutritional Supplement High in Iron and Calcium.  Vanilla Natural and Artificial Flavour Milk 12+ < MDL
Parent's Choice Soya-Based Infant Formula with Iron and Omega-3 and Omega-6.  Milk free and Lactose Free Soya 0 - 12 < MDL
Compliments Compliments Little Ones Infant Formula with Iron Milk 0 - 12 < MDL


* 1 ng/g is equivalent to 0.001 µg/g or 1 part per billion (ppb)

+Health Risk Assessment of Bisphenol A from Food Packaging Applications. ISBN: 978-0-662-48686-2