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BPA Officially Banned in Baby Bottles by FDA
The Food and Drug Administration announced this week the official ban on bisphenol A (BPA) in children’s cups and baby bottles. BPA is a well-used industrial chemical that mimics estrogen and has been used frequently in food packaging and plastic bottles.
Manufacturers of baby bottles and children’s drinking cups stopped using BPA years ago, amid growing concerns by the public that the chemical is unsafe and leaches from the plastic into formula and food. The FDA said their decision was a response to a request made by the American Chemistry Council, the trade association for the chemical industry. This move was made by the FDA to foster confidence in consumers and clear up confusion.
The agency did not, however, call for the complete elimination of the plastic additive in other sources. According to the FDA spokesman, Steven Immergut, the agency has still not reversed their position on BPA, which was declared safe in 2008 although concerns began to arise in 2010. The FDA maintains there is no significant evidence that BPA is harmful and has been examining evidence for years.
What is Bisphenol A?
BPA, or bisphenol A, is a chemical that has been used as a plastics additive and resin since the 1960′s. It’s found mostly in polycarbonate plastics, which are used to store food and drinks, as well as many epoxy resins. The chemical may also be found in other goods, thermal cash products like register receipts, toys and dental sealants. The chemical remains controversial because it can leak into food and drinks from the containers, and into your body when you handle plastics made with BPA. One recent study looked at nearly 2,000 individuals and found BPA in the urine of 90%. Traces of BPA can also be found in cord blood, the blood of pregnant women and breast milk.
Potential Health Effects of BPA
There are been quite a few reports of potential health effects from BPA, including effects on the prostate gland, brain and behavior of fetuses, children and infants. One study found a high risk of behavioral problems in children with dental fillings containing BPA, for example. If you’re concerned about the effects of BPA and want to minimize exposure, here are the steps you should take:
Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastics, as they will break down over time and leach more BPA into food. This advice comes from the National Toxicology Program.
Look for products marked as BPA-free. This can be difficult, although many manufacturers now label BPA-free products because of growing consumer fears. For products not labeled, remember that aluminum cans have BPA-containing linings but steel cans do not. Polycarbonate plastic that isn’t labeled as BPA-free will have the chemical and have a 7 recycling code on the bottom.
Choose glass, stainless steel and porcelain food containers over plastic.
Reduce use of canned foods, which are typically lined with a BPA-containing resin.