The six largest makers of baby bottles will stop manufacturing baby bottles in the United States made with bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical widely used in plastics but increasingly linked to a range of health problems, reports the Washington Post. In addition, several retailers, including Babies R Us, told suppliers they would no longer stock baby bottles made with the chemical, cites the newspaper.
These manufacturers, including Philips Avent, made their decisions after several attorney generals in Connecticut and New Jersey wrote to the bottle makers and asked them to voluntarily stop using the chemical, reports the Washington Post. Public health advocates say it poses a particular danger to fetuses, infants and children because BPA can interfere with cell function when their bodies are still developing, cites the newspaper.
Over the past decade, more than 130 studies have linked BPA to breast cancer, obesity and other disorders, reports the Washington Post. For example, JAMA reported in September 2008 that a study of BPA in humans found adults with higher levels of bisphenol A is associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and liver-enzyme abnormalities.
New research suggests that BPA has an effect at very low doses – lower than the current safety standard set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reports the Washington Post. One key finding by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, reported last year that there is “some concern” BPA may affect the brain and behavioral development of fetuses, infants and young children, cites the newspaper.
In August 2008, the FDA asserted that BPA was safe, and found “no reason to recommend that consumers stop using products that contain BPA while the agency carries out its assessment process.” In October 2008, the FDA agreed that due to the uncertainties raised in some studies relating to the potential effects of low dose exposure to bisphenol A, additional research would be valuable, and is moving ahead with planned research.
Similarly, Canada will spend $1.7 million over the next three years to study the effects of BPA, reports GreenBiz.com. The Web site says Canada was the first country to ban BPA, which has been linked to a host of developmental and health problems in laboratory studies.