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The European Union has voted to ban Bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles starting next year. BPA is a chemical used in many household products, most notably food and beverage containers made with polycarbonate plastics (think hard, shatter-proof water bottles) or epoxy resins, which line the inside of food cans and bottle caps.
The chemical is considered a synthetic hormone and mimics estrogen in the body. Some research in animals suggests that even low levels of BPA exposure are linked to cancer, infertility, heart disease, diabetes, developmental and reproductive problems, obesity and early puberty. In humans, scientists suspect that it could increase the risk of breast and prostate cancers, contribute to behavioral issues and affect the development of the reproductive and immune systems in children.
“There were areas of uncertainty, deriving from new studies, which showed that BPA might have an effect on the development, immune response or tumor promotion,” said the EU’s commissioner in charge of health and consumer policy, John Dalli. “The decision taken today is good news for European parents.”
Countries belonging to the European Union must prohibit the manufacturing of BPA baby bottles starting March 1, 2011, and prevent the sale of them beginning on June 1.
As for other areas of the world, Canada became the first country to ban BPA from baby bottles this past October. France, Denmark and seven U.S. states have also voted to prohibit the chemical from infant bottles. Those include Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that low levels of BPA are safe, it does have some concern about its effect on infants, children and fetuses. While it continues to examine the research on BPA, the FDA supports efforts to reduce exposure to the chemical.
If you’re concerned about your family’s exposure to BPA, consider the following measures to lower your risk:
· Avoid #7 plastics
· Use BPA-free baby bottles
· Limit your consumption of canned food
· Keep all plastic containers out of the microwave
How worried are you about BPA? Chime in below!