States are moving to ban the chemical BPA from food and drink container, primarily those meant for infants and toddlers, due to health concerns.
A number of states are considering restrictions on bisphenol A, an estrogen-like chemical used to harden plastics.
It can be found in bottles and cups, as well as used in the lining in metal cans, including infant formula.
The Food and Drug Administration, which had previously said BPA was safe, announced last month that in light of new studies it has some concerns about the chemical’s potential effects on brain development of foetuses, infants and children. It did not say BPA is unsafe.
“This announcement has added momentum to the efforts to restrict the uses of this dangerous chemical once and for all,” says Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., author of a pending bill to ban BPA from food and drink containers.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California has a similar proposal in that state.
Activists, including the Environmental Working Group and the Natural Resources Defense Council, cite studies that link BPA to breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.
Bans are “not necessary,” says Steve Hentges, a PBA specialist at the American Chemistry Council, which opposes the bans. He says research shows BPA is safe.
Last year, Connecticut and Minnesota passed the first state bans on BPA in food and drink containers intended for children three and younger. Chicago and Suffolk County, N.Y., took similar action.
Canada became the first country to ban BPA use in baby bottles.