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Harmful BPA found in baby bottles, cups

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By Ifham Nizam

International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) yesterday called for immediate national and global restrictions on the use of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in food and beverage containers intended for children, after studies in eight countries showed that the chemical was present in 76 out of the 98 feeding bottles and food containers analysed.

CEJ Project Planning and Management Officer/Instructor on chemical contamination Chalani Rubesinghe said two-thirds of the sampled bottles labelled as being BPA-free were found to contain the harmful chemical. BPA exposure is linked to several adverse health effects including cancer, fertility disorders, and sexual dysfunction both in men and women besides diabetes. BPA is legally identified as toxic in many countries and is categorised as an endocrine disruptor in the European Union.

Rubesinghe added: “We found that even the products were mislabelled as BPA-free. Manufacturers trick concerned parents into buying products that can harm their children. We need strict rules for labelling toxic chemicals in consumer products as well as a strong surveillance system to monitor their implementation.”

For the study, IPEN participating organisations in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania collected baby bottles, sippy cups, and other food contact products intended for children, which were then assessed for BPA to find out how much of the chemical that leached into liquid content. The two laboratories analyzing the bottles were the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, in the Czech Republic, and the Shiriram Institute for Industrial Research in New Delhi, India.

A number of countries, including EU member states, Malaysia, China, and Indonesia have restricted the use of BPA in baby bottles. However, IPEN found BPA present, and able to leach into liquid content, in 78% of the 98 products tested. One of the mislabelled samples violated Malaysia’s Food Regulations, as use and import of polycarbonate baby bottles with BPA is prohibited in that country.

“It is extremely concerning to find BPA, a toxic chemical with no safe exposure level, in products specifically designed for children. Also, we need to make sure that all bisphenol chemicals are banned as a group, to avoid regrettable substitution of one toxic chemical with another,” says IPEN Global Researcher Jitka Straková.



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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