August 4, 2009

Mass. warns of toxins in baby bottles

Massachusetts told parents of babies to avoid plastic milk bottles reinforced with bisphenol A, a controversial chemical tied to developmental problems.

The warning follows an exhaustive yearlong review of the organic compound, commonly abbreviated as BPA, found in products ranging from baby bottles to canned food linings.

Studies in laboratory animals suggest BPA -- suspected of being hazardous to humans since the 1930s -- might increase the risk of developmental problems in some fetuses and young children.

Children and adults can ingest tiny amounts of the chemical when they drink from cups or eat from containers made with BPA, researchers say.

Unlike neighboring Connecticut, Massachusetts did not ban the chemical from infant formula, The Boston Globe reported.

Connecticut also banned it from baby food cans and jars and reusable food and beverage containers.

A half-dozen states and local governments -- including Minnesota, Chicago and New York's Suffolk County -- have taken steps to protect the public from BPA in the absence of decisive federal action, the newspaper said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has declared BPA safe, will provide a public update on BPA Aug. 17, the agency says.

Many manufacturers have voluntarily replaced BPA in products ranging from baby bottles to drinking water containers. Some U.S. chain stores, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., have agreed to discontinue carrying some children's items made with BPA.

BPA has long been used to strengthen plastic drinking bottles and to prevent corrosion and increase the shelf life of canned products.