Doctors have found proof that medicines packed in
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles can have adverse effects on children,
women in their reproductive age and the geriatric population.
"PET bottles may have long-term medical consequences
for women, especially in the reproductive age group and children. 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,"
said Dr Seema Singhal, assistant professor, Department of Obstetrics and
Gynaecology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Doctors say that exposure to these faux-estrogens in uterus
can cause early onset of puberty and increase the infant's risk of prostate or
breast cancer as an adult. BPA exposure is also linked with aggressive
behaviour and hyperactivity disorders in young girls.
Terephthalic acid is the major chemical precursor of PET
containers. Doctors warn that the acid increases chances of breast cancer.
Experts tested PET bottles for permissible levels of terephthalates, antimony,
acetaldehyde etc. for storage at around 20 degrees Celsius.
"While the potential harmful effects of toxins and chemicals is
manifold, it is time for our pharmaceutical industry to minimize the use of
plastic packaging for liquid formulation," said Dr A.P. Dubey, professor
and head of Pediatrics Department, Maulana Azad Medical College. In India, Polyethylene Terephthalate bottles are used in 70
percent pediatric and liquid geriatric formulations.