Because of the questionable safety and availability of alternatives, six manufacturers will stop selling baby bottles with the plastic additive bisphenol A or BPA.
Last October, eleven makers of plastic baby bottles received urgent letters from the Attorneys General of Delaware, New Jersey and Connecticut, urging them to stop using Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby products.
Mounting consumer concerns and a lawsuit naming five companies already had several bottle makers ridding their product line of BPA.
Bisphenol A is a compound that hardens plastic and since the 1950s has been used in thousands of everyday consumer items including the lining of food cans, food containers, DVD cases, shower curtains, and baby bottles.
The chemical is found to mimic the hormone estrogen, and can disrupt the endocrine system in the developing bodies of a child or fetus. In adults, studies have linked it to breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and liver problems with adverse effects seen in very low doses.
Retailers such as Babies R Us and Avent, the largest maker of baby bottles, began phasing out BPA bottles last year as a “business decision”.
Avent will still reportedly sell the bottles overseas. Playtex Products Inc., Gerber, Evenflo Co., Dr. Brown and Disney First Years – have agreed not to market the plastic polycarbonate bottles in the U.S.
It may be too little too late.
One federal study finds the chemical is in the urine of 93 percent of the U.S. population, reports the Washington Post.
Richard Wiles, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization, tells the Washington Post that the states are acting because the government has failed to overhaul the federal policy toward chemicals.
"When the public is forced to rely on state actions to achieve nationwide protections, we know the federal system is broken,” he says.
More than six billion pounds of bisphenol are produced in the U.S. each year by Dow Chemical, Bayer AG and others.
All fall under the watch of the National Toxicology Program which has expressed “some concern” about BPA. The FDA and chemical manufacturers say it is safe.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California was among the authors of the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act, which was the first to ban plastic softeners, known as phthalates, from children's products. A national version of the bill will be introduced in Congress this year.
In 2006, The Chronicle sent children's products for tests that found bisphenol A in the covers of waterproof children's books, a baby rattle, the face of a doll, a plastic pony and some baby bottles. #