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Companies voluntarily banish BPA from bottles

As politicos bandy about the issue of banning bisphenol A (BPA), the hard-plastic additive that's been linked to a host of health problems, several companies have recently announced that they will banish it from their baby products. Attorneys general from Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware in October asked six major baby bottle makers to stop using the controversial chemical. All of the companies have agreed to comply, according to a statement released yesterday by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

"This prompt positive response sends a profoundly significant message that baby bottle manufacturers respect the science showing BPA health dangers," Blumenthal said. According to the announcement, Avent, Disney First Years, Dr. Brown, Evenflow, Gerber and Playtex will all stop selling bottles and formula containing the chemical. Retailers, such as Wal-Mart, CVS and Toys 'R Us, announced last year that they would also discontinue selling them.

Canada banned baby bottles with BPA last year and consumer advocates are pushing the U.S. to do the same in the wake of research that has linked the compound to heightened risks of heart disease, diabetes and other ills. 

"Voluntary BPA bans… are good, but not good enough," Blumenthal said.

BPA is a common ingredient in both food and household plastics as well as lining for canned goods and bottle caps. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not declared the chemical a health risk, but numerous studies have found evidence to the contrary. Products are not required to list BPA as an ingredient, but current wisdom among concerned consumers is to avoid hard plastics when possible and to not heat them up (in a microwave or dishwasher), which increases the possibility that the chemical will leach into food or beverages.

A ban of BPA baby bottles is currently pending in Suffolk County, NY. The county executive has until April 2 to sign it into law, and if he does, it would be the only such ban in the country.

Image © iStockphoto/bluehill75

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