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Attorneys general from New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut have sent letters to 11 companies that manufacture baby bottles and formula containers, asking them to voluntarily stop using the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) to produce these products because of the chemical’s potential threat to infant health.

BPA, which is used in the production of polycarbonate plastic (which makes up our CDs, DVDs, water bottles, Tupperware and eyeglass lenses) as well as polyesters and epoxy resins, is a known endocrine disruptor. In animal tests, it has been shown to interfere with proper hormone function, resulting in increased rates of diabetes, breast and prostate cancers, obesity, early puberty, and reproductive and neurological problems.

The FDA, in concert with the chemical companies who avidly support the use of BPA, has concluded that it is “safe” for human use. In turn, members of Congress have accused the FDA of cherry picking research to support its BPA approval, noting that its entire evaluation relied on only two studies, both of which were funded by the American Chemistry Council (which represents plastic resins manufacturers), and one of which was never even published or peer reviewed.

In light of these allegations, as well as significant research which indicates that the effect of BPA on humans, and infants in particular, may be similar to its effect on animals, attorneys general Anne Milgram (NJ), Beau Biden (DE), and Richard Blumenthal (CT) took it upon themselves Friday to send letters to Avent America Inc., Disney First Years, Gerber, Handicraft Co., Playtex Products Inc. and Evenflo Co., and formula makers Abbott, Mead Johnson, PBM Products, Nature’s One and Wyeth.

The letters cite studies indicating that BPA can attach to food in heated containers, and call the “preventable release of a toxic chemical directly into the food we eat…unconscionable and intolerable.”

"Unfortunately the federal agency, the Federal Food and Drug Administration, has been asleep at the switch, in fact resistant to respecting the scientific evidence that grave harm can result in use of this product." –Richard Blumenthal.

As we await companies’ responses as well as further information about the safety of BPA, it’s a good idea to be cautious, and avoid infant consumption of the chemical by choosing feeding bottles that aren’t made with it. This means avoiding plastic containers imprinted with the recycling number ‘7,’ especially if you’re going to warm food or liquids in them. It also means checking the baby products you buy for symbols indicating that they’re BPA-free.

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