Earlier this summer, my family and I went to British Columbia, Canada, for our annual pilgrimage to this tiny island where we got married. My personal theory on Canada is that it is just like the Midwest, only with fewer people and, in the case of B.C., better views. It turns out, however, that Canada also has one other great difference, they have better baby bottles.
In my un-scientific study of the local population, which included a 6 hour ride on two Greyhound busses, 4 days exploring the streets of the B.C. capital Victoria, and then as many days on above-mentioned remote island; every parent I saw, of every apparent socio-economic group, used “safe” bottles and sippy cups. By safe, I mean that they used a BPA-free bottle or sippy cup.
This could be because, like in the U.S., there has been a lot of news coverage in Canada about the possible toxicity of BPA to children and the very real concern that it might leak from baby bottles and sippy cups and expose them to levels considered high enough to worry about. Or, it could be that unlike in the U.S., the government there is looking after the possible dangers to children. On April 19th, Canada began the process to ban the import, sale, and advertising of baby bottles which contain BPA. It started the process with a 60-day public comment period.
The European Food Safety Authority, which has (like it’s American counterpart, the FDA) called for further study of BPA and its safety, has also calculated that a 6 month formula fed infant using a bottle that wasn’t free of BPA could be exposed up to 13 microgram/kg bw/day. That is an estimated exposure level 10 times greater than for an adult. And, that doesn’t include the possible exposure that could come from water. (BPA can come both from the baby bottle and from formula which comes in cans lined with BPA.)
I asked one of the residents of the island about the seeming savvy nature of the moms on the island in regard to their bottle choices. She said, “We may live on an island, far from seemingly everything, but even we can figure out that water that sits around and heats up in a plastic bottle all day, is bound to have problems.”
Maybe if a country has to pay for the costs of its citizens healthcare, it is more invested in protecting its youngest members. I guess that is the other difference I’ve forgotten between Canada and the Midwest: healthcare for all.