A group of doctors from India contacted the Union Health Ministry asking a ban on storing medicines in such containers.
Additionally, medicines stored in PET bottles have negative effects on children, women, and seniors.
“PET bottles may have long-term medical consequences for women, especially in the reproductive age group and children,” said Dr Seema Singhal, assistant professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). “The release of bisphenol A (BPA) and additives like di-ethylhexyl phthalate can blend with the contents and lead to health issues like impaired immune development, increased miscarriage rates, pre-term birth, and low birth weight. BPA acts as a faux-estrogen, and can cause chromosomal abnormalities, birth defects and developmental disabilities in uterus and childhood.”
By exposing uterus to faux-estrogens could lead to an early onset of puberty and an alarming increase in infant’s risk of prostate or breast cancer as an adult, Singhal added. Also linked to BPA is hyperactivity disorders and aggressive behavior in young girls.
In India, 70 percent of pediatric and liquid geriatric formulations are stored in PET bottles.
In their plea, doctors told the Ministry that terephthalic acid (TPA), a precursor of PET containers used to store food and beverages, increases the chances of breast cancer. The PET bottles were tested for acceptable levels of terephthalates, antimony, and acetaldehyde for storage at around 20 degrees Celsius.
“While the potential harmful effects of toxins and chemicals is manifold, it is time our pharmaceutical industry minimised use of plastic packaging for liquid formulation,” said Dr A.P. Dubey, professor and head of Pediatrics Department, Maulana Azad Medical College.