European Union Bans BPA From Baby Bottles

European Union Bans BPA From Baby Bottles

Baby bottle - CC license by Flickr user katerha

Groups that have been urging the removal of bisphenol A (BPA) from consumer products have a new ally in the European Commission, which has banned the chemical from being used in baby bottles.

Starting in March 2011, plastic bottles will not be allowed to be manufactured with BPA in the European Union, and bottles containing BPA will be banned from being imported or sold starting in June. The European Commission said it will not seek bans on BPA in other products.

BPA, a chemical that mimics estrogen, earning it its "gender-bender" moniker, has been linked to a number of reproductive problems, developmental issues and other negative health effects. It's found in some hard plastic bottles, epoxy can liners and numerous other products like receipt paper. 

Those on the pro-BPA side argue that no studies have shown a clear link between current exposure levels of the chemical and health problems in humans, while those on the other side of the fence push for following the precautionary principle, since people can be exposed to BPA through a variety of sources, and it can be most damaging to fetuses and children.

Groups like the National Toxicology Program have expressed concern over the chemical's impact, particularly on fetuses, infants and children, since they receive more concentrated doses of BPA when exposed to it.

Major baby bottle makers in the U.S. have already voluntarily switched to BPA-free alternatives, some chain stores have set policies against selling any drinking bottles — either for kids or adults — with BPA, and some food manufacturers have found or are seeking BPA alternatives for use in metal can liners.

Seven U.S. states and a handful of local governments have set bans on the chemical's use, as have other countries like Canada, which also labeled it "toxic," and Denmark. A complete ban in the U.S. was put on the back burner last month when a proposed ban was blocked from being included in a food safety bill.

Baby bottle - CC license by Flickr user katerha