Plastic Pet Food/ Water Bowls
Recent scientific interest in plastic and human health has prompted some pet care bloggers to suggest it’s safest to ditch plastic food bowls in favour of ceramic or stainless steel bowls.
There are two reasons:
a) Basic Hygiene
Food and water bowls should always be cleaned daily (we think best simply once your pet has finished its food from the bowl). Plastic bowls are porous, meaning they absorb materials at a microscopic level. This may make them harder to rid of bacteria by cleaning. Just in the same way food hygiene rules apply for people, they do for pets to avoid gastro-intestinal, skin and other problems caused by food contaminated with unhealthy bacteria.
b) Controversy over Bisephanol A
Bisephanol A is a chemical used to make a type of hard, transparent plastic called polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is used in the manufacture of many plastic food storage and consumption items – reusable water bottles and baby bottles, plastic tableware, plastic food storage containers, etc. It is also found in epoxy compounds used to line tin cans. (1). Questions arose in recent years as to whether the chemical could migrate into foods and whether this posed any risk to human health. International opinion is currently sharply divided on the issue.
Canadian authorities are focusing efforts to protect newborn babies and infants less than 18 months. They are drafting legislation to “ban the importation, sale and advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles” (2). Bisephanol A was found to “harm fish and aquatic organisms over time” at low levels (3) . Its use in canned foods/drinks is also to be regulated.
The Americans are still evaluating evidence. The FDA issued a message for consumers 31/08/2009 stating close liason with the Canadian authorities but for now that “exposure levels to food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects”. Their position does indicate however they will continue to review evidence as it becomes available (4).
The Europeans do not appear to be taking any action to further regulate or ban Bisephanol A or polycarbon plastic (5).
If concerned, pet owners can buy ceramic or stainless steel feeding/ water bowls. Some pet supplies retailers are realising consumers want Bisephanol A free pet products and using the phrase “BPA free” in marketing.
IMPORTANT: of course no information from the internet can ever be a substitute for advice from your vetinarian on any aspect of animal health. The opinions expressed here are for broad educational purposes only.
Sorry to our furry friends: unfortunately, if there’s a health concern, it does mean getting into the nasty carrier box and going to see the nasty man or lady with the funny smelling gloves!!
Posted by Norma De Bloom
1. Health Canada. (2008). Bisephanol A Fact Sheet. . [online]. Government of Canada. Available at:
2. Health Canada. (2008) Government of Canada Takes Action on Another Chemical of Concern: Bisphenol A. [online]. Government of Canada. Available at:
3. Health Canada. (2008) Government of Canada Protects Families With Bisphenol A Regulations. [online]. Government of Canada. Available at:
4. FDA. (2009). Bisphenol A (BPA) Message for Consumers. [online]. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at:
5. Scientific Committee on Food (2002). Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on Bisphenol A. [online]. European Commission: Health & Consumer Protection Directorate-General. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sc/scf/out128_en.pdf