Health Canada bisphenol A announcement imminent

Health Canada is expected to classify bisphenol A as a dangerous substance as early as Wednesday, opening the door to controlling exposure to the hormone disrupter.

Health Canada is expected to classify bisphenol A as a dangerous substance as early as Wednesday, which could lead to regulations on the increasingly controversial chemical.

The move would make the department the first regulatory body anywhere in the world to rule that bisphenol A (BPA) endangers people and the environment, according to a report in the Globe and Mail.

When contacted by the CBC Tuesday afternoon, Health Canada spokesman Alastair Sinclair would not comment on whether an announcement is imminent.

BPA, which is used to make many hard plastic toys, bottles and food containers, is thought to mimic the hormone estrogen. Recent independent studies link the chemical to breast cancer, obesity, infertility and insulin-resistance in rodents.

Conversely, the plastics industry vigorously defends the chemical, noting it has been used widely for 50 years.

The Health Canada evaluation of bisphenol A was launched last year as part of a study about 200 chemicals the federal government has designated for more careful research.

Once the department, along with Environment Canada, releases its draft assessment of BPA, a 60-day public comment period will follow. Ottawa then has a year in which to issue a report outlining how it will control exposure, assuming that no new information comes out of the public comment period.

But some retailers aren't waiting for an official announcement.

Canada's largest sporting-goods retailer said Tuesday it is pulling all water bottles that contain BPA from its more than 500 stores.

Bob Sartor, chief executive officer of Forzani Group, said the company began removing the bottles early Tuesday, after reports Health Canada is about to designate BPA as dangerous. He says Forzani Group stores, which include Sport Check, Athlete's World and Coast Mountain Sports, will provide refunds for any bottles with receipts.

In December, Vancouver-based Mountain Equipment Co-op became the first major Canadian retailer to pull polycarbonate containers from its store shelves. Lululemon Athletica Inc., also Vancouver-based, announced plans later the same month to stop selling plastic water bottles that contain bisphenol A.

With files from the Canadian Press